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Blount Report: Affairs in Hawaii

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            HAWAIIAN  ISLANDS.						771

As the leading and most efficient element of weakness in the Hawaiian race, tending to physical decay, we 
predicate:
(1) Unchastity.-This has always been general among females as well as males. The Hawaiian female was, like 
males of other races, aggressive in solicitation. It was matter of good form that all proposals should be expressed by 
the female. It is still so, except to the extent that foreign ideas have permeated society. The records of Cook's 
discovery of the group indicate that state of things as originally existing. The account written by Dr. Ellis, Cook's 
chief surgeon, states how at Kauai, where they first touched, Captain Cook was determined, on account of serious 
disease among his men, to permit no intercourse with the women, so as not to introduce disease among the 
Hawaiians. It was, however, impracticable to prevent the women from swarming over the ships. The native account 
received from participants by the early missionaries, states that it was arranged in public council that the women 
should take this course, as the easiest way of obtaining iron and other prized articles from the ships.
Proceeding from Niihau to Alaska, and returning nine months later, Cook's ships made the coast of Hamakua, 
Hawaii. He again sought to keep the women from his crew, but discovered that they were already infected with the 
malady. So promiscuous were the habits of the people, that from the first center of infection at Waimea, the malady 
had in nine months, spread like a fire to the other extremity of the group. This, again, is corroborated by the 
information obtained by the early missionaries as to the spread of the disease. Dr. Ellis describes, in words undesir-
able to here reproduce, the grossly aggressive and impetuous action of the females.
It was the universal practice of ordinary hospitality to visitors to supply them during their sojourn with the women of 
the family. Such a matter-of-course tender was a frequent cause of annoyance to the early missionaries in their tours 
in remoter districts, enjoying the cordial hospitality of the most well-to-do poople, in their neat thatched cottages. I 
am not prepared to say how far this heathen custom has now lapsed into disuse- It is certainly one of the old customs 
sought to be maintained and revived together with the hulas and idolatrous practices. One of the painful experiences 
of missionaries in the out districts, was to hear of this practice being carried out in the chief households of his parish 
when some great man came along with his suite. I speak from repeated, personal experience as a missionary pastor.
It may be said in general that chastity had absolutely no recognition. It was simply a thing unknown and unthought 
of as a virtue in the old domestic life of Hawaii. A woman who withheld herself was counted sour and ungracious. 
This did not exclude more or loss of marital proprietorship, involving an invasion of the husband's right in enjoying 
his property without his consent. There was no impurity in it any more than among brute animals.
There was, however, a salutary limitation of some importance in a frequent stringent guarding of early virginity. 
Young maidens were quite commonly put under tabu for first use by the chief, after possession by whom all 
restriction ceased. No sense of a sacredness in chastity seems to have been involved in this, nor any sense of 
profanation in the contrary. It was only the thought of a special choiceness in an article that was fresh and unused. In 
the tremendous disturbances of life ensuing upon the advent of the white man. even this solitary restriction perished,
No severe moral reprobation is due to the primitive Hawaiian for what seems to have been an ignorant innocence of 
easy, promiscuous living, like the free life of animals, without sense of evil. None the less must we deem this social 
condition more than any other to have incapacitated the Hawaiians from holding their own after the advent of the 
white man. During the simplicity of aboriginal life, and in the total absence of sexual diseases, the evils resulting 
from promiscuous intercourse would be minimized. Procreative force remained largely in excess of mortality, so 
that the teeming population was kept down by infanticide. But to them a lady which the white man imported, the 
unguarded social condition was as tow to the flame. The scorching and withering disease ran like wildfire through 
the nation. Multitudes died at once, while the survivors remained with poisoned bodies and enfeebled constitutions.
A general impairment of constitutional vigor in the people by venereal disease caused them to fall early victims to 
other maladies, both native and foreign. All diseases ran riot in their shattered constitutions. They became especially 
incapacitated to resist pulmonary maladies. The greatly increased prevalence of colds and consumption is doubtless 
due to this syphilitic diathesis rather than to change of habits as to clothing, although the latter may have had some 
unfavorable effect. Probably the pestilence called Okuu, whatever its nature, which carried off such a bulk of the 
population in 1804, owed most of its virulence to the impaired physique of the people.

* See "Foot-note to Hawaiian history," page 35.

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