Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Paul Neumann

“Mrs. Dominis in a few words stated that she desired to surrender all her claims to the throne, and offered her formal abdication to President Dole in the shape of a document drawn up by Judge AS Hartwell, who was consulted by Mr. Wilson, Mr. Parker and Mr. Neumann about the matter and acted as advising counsel for them”.

“Attorney Neumann then read aloud the formal abdication. Her ex-Majesty also read the document aloud from beginning to end and then signed both the document and the oath of allegiance to the republic, while Notary Stanley affixed his jurat.  Mr. Neumann returned the document to the ex-Queen”.  (The Morning Call, February 7, 1895)

Paul Rudolph Neumann, lawyer, diplomat, and bon vivant (a person having cultivated, refined and sociable tastes especially with respect to food and drink,) was born in Prussia in December 1839.

He came to the United States when he was fifteen, locating in California, where he became a naturalized citizen. He was admitted to the practice of law in 1864 and served in the California legislature as a senator three terms.

Interactions with Neumann were typically enlivened by his bubbling wit; while a competent lawyer, he was known far more widely for his love of fun and his wit and bon vivant. Wherever he went, he left behind a trail of his kindly humor and was as full of frolic as a schoolboy.

While in California, Neumann broke his leg; while it was mending, he broke it again.  It had to be amputated; he “stumped around on a cork substitute, of which he was ever ready to make fun.” He and another amputee, C Mitchell Grant, would joke with an impromptu peg-leg waltz. (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, July 22, 1901)

Neumann married Elise Dinklage of California on June 25, 1870; they had six children: Paul Jr, Edouard, Anita Alejandra, Inez Sophie, Eva and Lillie Leonora.  (Neumann was born of Jewish parents and was reared as a Jew. His wife was not a Jewess and his children were not reared in the Jewish faith.  (The New Era))

As a lawyer, the partner of Harry Eickhoff, he had a good practice and did not hesitate to match wits with any member of the bar. Often he upset a learned argument with a quick sally, and people followed him into court in the expectation of hearing him turn a point and raise a laugh. But beyond his humor he could be logically forceful and had quite a turn of eloquence.

As an after-dinner speaker he was particularly ready, and was often selected to preside as toastmaster when an evening of lively fun was expected. Even when he went into politics he could not keep down his love of a joke, and he lost some votes among people who feared he never would be serious enough for a lawmaker.  (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, July 22, 1901)

In the fall of 1882 he was the Republican candidate for representative in Congress from the San Francisco district; he was denounced by the San Francisco Chronicle as a ‘sugar-coated candidate’ and a tool of the Claus Spreckels interests.  He lost.

In the fall of 1883, Neumann made a short visit to Honolulu. It was reported that he had been offered an appointment as Attorney General but had declined it. A month later, he returned to Honolulu and within a few days was admitted to the Hawaiian bar.  On December 14 he was appointed Attorney General.  (Kuykendall)

In public service, he was Attorney General under King Kalākaua (1883–1886) and Queen Liliʻuokalani (1892,) became a member of the House of Nobles, and later became Liliʻuokalani’s personal attorney until his death.  In 1884 he went to Mexico as special Hawaiian Envoy; later (1896,) he was Envoy Extraordinary of the Republic of Hawaiʻi to Guatemala.

“Paul Neumann … told me stories of the old monarchy and the good old early days.  Neumann was a character, one of the early figures in modern Hawaiian history, and a very patriotic man. Crabbed and crusty to the stranger, he unbent most charmingly to any one he liked. Story followed story …” (Beringer; Overland Monthly, 1909)

When the Hawaiʻi Bar Association was formed, Neumann was unanimously elected as its first President.  (Independent, June 29, 1899)

He was a close friend and poker-playing companion of the King. As Attorney General and legislator, friendly adviser and personal attorney, Neumann gave faithful service to King Kalākaua and Queen Liliʻuokalani.  (Kuykendall)

Neumann was also a great friend and companion of Robert Louis Stevenson; Stevenson was a welcomed and privileged guest at the Neumann’s residence while in Honolulu. (Johnstone)

At the time of the overthrow, Neumann went to Washington as the representative of Queen Liliʻuokalani, to oppose the first treaty of annexation and to secure her restoration.

He successfully kept Hawaiʻi from becoming a Territory of the United States under President Grover Cleveland by carrying a personal letter from the Queen explaining the takeover - Cleveland interceded with Senate Democrats to stop action on the treaty.  (Denson)  That changed in 1898 when McKinley took office.

Neumann also successfully negotiated a pension for the Queen ($20,000 annually during her life) and Princess Kaʻiulani (a lump sum of $150,000.)

Following the conspiracy of 1895, Neumann was counsel for the ex-Queen and for the more prominent of the royalist defendants in the trials for treason before the military court.  (Hawaiian Star, July 2, 1901)

Paul Neumann died July 2, 1901.  His widow, several years later, met with a tragic ending.  “She was known to her many friends as an unusually self-reliant woman.  Of recent years her sorrows have been many.”

“Her husband died, seven year ago. Two years ago one of her sons, an ensign in the United States Navy was killed on board the battleship Missouri in a turret explosion.  Her mother died about a year ago.”

“She never ceased to grieve, say her friends, over the death of her son.” … (She reportedly jumped overboard and drowned while travelling via ship from Mazatlán to San Francisco.)  (San Francisco Call, September 8, 1908)

The image shows Paul Neumann.  In addition, I have added some other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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