Paul Neumann (Attorney General)

For other people named Paul Neumann, see Paul Neumann (disambiguation).
Paul Neumann
gentleman in Victorian suit
Born 1839
Died July 2, 1901(1901-07-02) (aged 61–62)
Occupation Lawyer, politician, diplomat
Known for Attorney general
Spouse(s) Elisa
Children 5

Paul Neumann (1839–July 2, 1901) was a lawyer, politician, and diplomat in California and the Kingdom of Hawaii.


Born in Prussia, Neumann became a lawyer in California around 1864 and served three terms as a state senator of California.[1] He worked for fellow-German American Claus Spreckels (1828–1908), who maintained a monopoly of the refining of sugar from Hawaii in California. Neuman met Hawaiian royalty when they would come to California to be entertained by Spreckels.[2] Neumann was the Republican Party of California's candidate for the United States House of Representatives in November 1882 for the San Francisco district. However, he was denounced by the San Francisco Chronicle as being a "sugar coated candidate", being used by Spreckels to advance his own interests, and was defeated in the election. In 1883, Neumann came to the Hawaiian Islands to serve as legal counsel for Spreckels who was now the publisher of the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper, first in the fall for a short visit.[3] He was one of the first Jewish leaders in the Hawaiian Islands,[4] although in later years he led a more secular life and did not raise his children in the Jewish faith.[5]

Being from Europe, Neumann was comfortable around a monarchy, and made friends with the other Europeans in the islands.[6] King David Kalākaua and other members of the government depended on loans from Spreckels to support their lifestyles. Within days of returning, Neumann was admitted to the bar and appointed as attorney general of the Kingdom of Hawaii, and a member of Kalākaua's Privy Council on December 14, 1883.[7] Walter M. Gibson had been acting as attorney general, even though he had no legal training. The cabinet stayed intact until June 30, 1886, when another combination (except Gibson) was brought in, probably at the suggestion of Spreckels. Neumann was sometimes attacked by the conservative press for his "bohemianism", including playing Poker with the king, which the missionaries thought was sinful.[3] He had been president of the Bohemian Club in San Francisco.[8] Charles T. Gulick, although related to missionaries, also became a member of the Kalākaua cabinet as Minister of the Interior.[9]

In 1884 Neumann was appointed to the House of Nobles in the kingdom legislature, and the board of health. He served as envoy to Mexico in 1884, and investigated forming a consular office in San Francisco in 1885. Under the new 1887 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii, the House of Nobles became an elected office, so he lost his seat, until winning the election of 1892 for one more session.[7]

Queen Liliʻuokalani appointed him attorney general again on August 29, but he resigned the next day after a motion of no confidence in the legislature, when his scheme for a state lottery was heavily opposed in the legislature. On September 12 he was appointed again and served to November 1, 1892.[7]

men at table in military uniforms, others standing
The 1895 trial in former ʻIolani Palace throne room

Neumann became the private attorney of the queen after the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893. He was sent to Washington, DC to protest the overthrow and plead for the restoration of the monarchy. After an editorial in the Advertiser offended him, Neumann (who had a wooden leg) attacked new editor Henry Northrop Castle (son of Samuel Northrup Castle) with his cane in December 1893.[10] He defended Liliʻuokalani and other prisoners in a military tribunal following the failed 1895 rebellion against the Republic of Hawaii, where she was convicted of misprision of treason. He advised Liliʻuokalani to issue a formal abdication, which she did, and the revolutionaries were pardoned.[11] When a circuit judge position opened up, he was passed over for the much younger William Stanley.[12]

After the islands were annexed to the United States in 1898, he became more resigned to the situation, and applied to be the first attorney from Hawaii to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States.[13] He did think the Crown Lands of Hawaii had been seized illegally, a case that is still controversial.[14]

Although he had no government position, he was accepted in society enough to become toastmaster of the local Masonic Lodge,[15] and president of the Hawaii Bar Association.[16] He represented many of the Chinese victims of the Great Honolulu Chinatown Fire of 1900. He died July 2, 1901.[17] At his funeral he was called "one of the most brilliant men who ever set foot on Hawaiian soil".[18] He was buried in Oahu Cemetery.

His daughter Eva (1871–1921) married Alfred Fowler (1860–1933) and became a friend of Ezra Pound.[19] Son Edouard Neumann graduated from the United States Naval Academy (nominated by California congressman Julius Kahn),[5] but was killed in a fire during target practice on the USS Missouri on April 13, 1904. Son Paul Neumann Jr. studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and lived in London.[20] Neumann's wife Elisa also moved to London, as did daughter Lily Neumann who married Robert MacDonald Bird. Other daughters Anita A. Neumann married Herman T. Focke in Honolulu in 1895, and Inez Sophie Neumann married William F. C. Hasson in 1891[21] who moved to Annapolis, Maryland.[20] His wife Elisa went to Acapulco, Mexico in 1908 to settle the estate of her mother and stepfather who had both died. On a steamer to San Francisco she died after jumping overboard.[8]


  1. California. Legislature. Senate (1880). Journal of the Senate of the State of California. State Printing Office.
  2. "San Francisco: Items of Interest from the Metropolis". Sacramento Daily Record-Union. October 24, 1881. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  3. 1 2 Ralph Simpson Kuykendall (1967). Hawaiian Kingdom 1874-1893, the Kalakaua Dynasty. 3. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 267–268. ISBN 978-0-87022-433-1.
  4. "The History of Kona Beth Shalom". web site for Congregation Kona Beth Shalom. Retrieved June 18, 2010.
  5. 1 2 "Of Interest to Jewish Readers". New era illustrated magazine. 4. December 1903. pp. 435–436.
  6. Helen G. Chapin (1981). "The Queen's "Greek Artillery Fire": Greek Royalists in the Hawaiian Revolution and Counterrevolution". Hawaiian Journal of History. 15. hdl:10524/422.
  7. 1 2 3 "Neumann, Paul office record". state archives digital collections. state of Hawaii. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
  8. 1 2 "Mrs. E. Neumann Jumps Overboard: Prominent Woman Leaps into Sea to Her Death from Steamer; Daughter Comes from Honolulu and is Greeted with Sad news". The San Francisco Call. San Francisco. September 8, 1908. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  9. "Gulick, Charles T. office record". state archives digital collections. state of Hawaii. Retrieved June 18, 2010.
  10. "The Ex-Queen's attitude a Surprise: Her Desire to Behead Those Who Deposed Her Has Hurt Her Cause" (pdf). New York Times. February 3, 1894. Retrieved June 18, 2010.
  11. "Abdication of Queen Liliuokalan: Safety at the Price of a Kingdom, of Little Moment Now for the Cause of the Royalists is a Lost Cause". The Morning Call. San Francisco. February 7, 1895. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  12. "Selection Made: W. F. L. Stanley Appointed Circuit Judge". The Hawaiian Gazette. Honolulu. November 2, 1897. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  13. "Paul Neumann Here: Did not Plead the Cause of ex-Queen Liluokalani at Washington". The San Francisco Call. San Francisco. February 28, 1899. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  14. "Liluokalani will Ask for her Rights: Her First Visit was for her People, Now on her Own Mission". The San Francisco Call. San Francisco. November 22, 1898. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  15. "Paul Neumann as Toastmaster: Unity First Sentiment". The hawaiian Gazette. Honolulu. July 5, 1898. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  16. "The Bar Association: Permanently Organized on a Non-Political Basis and the Debatable Resolutions are Withdrawn". The Independent. Honolulu. June 29, 1899. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  17. "Death list of a day: Paul Neumann" (pdf). New York Times. July 9, 1901. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
  18. "Local and General News: The Last Ceremony". The Independent. Honolulu. July 3, 1901. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  19. A. Walton Litz, ed. (1984). Ezra Pound and Dorothy Shakespear, their letters, 1909-1914. New Directions. p. 344. ISBN 978-0-8112-0900-7.
  20. 1 2 Associated Press (April 15, 1904). "Paul Neumann's Son is Killed on the Missouri: Turret Gun Explosion Kills Twenty Nine Men". The hawaiian Gazette. Honolulu. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  21. "Oahu marriage record (1832–1910)". state archives digital collections. state of Hawaii. Retrieved June 18, 2010.

Further reading

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Paul Neumann (Attorney General).
Government offices
Preceded by
Walter M. Gibson
Kingdom of Hawaii Attorney General
December 1883 – June 1886
Succeeded by
Walter M. Gibson
Preceded by
Hermann A. Widemann
Kingdom of Hawaii Attorney General
August 29, 1892 – August 30, 1892
September 12, 1892 – November 1, 1892
Succeeded by
Charles F. Creighton
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/19/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.