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Blount Report: Affairs in Hawaii

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              HAWAIIAN  ISLANDS.	               773

Abortion is often attributed to active horseback exercise during pregnancy. As native females used to be continually 
galloping about, no doubt this has contributed to the evil since 1850, when the common people began generally to 
possess horses. "With the development of good roads, wheels are now coming into very common use by all classes.
(2) Drunkenness. -This should be assigned to no inconsiderable place among disabling conditions. Before the 
haole arrived the favorite narcotic was awa. (piper methysticum), more commonly known throughout Oceanica as 
kava. A beer of some strength was made by fermenting sweet potato. The sirupy Ki-root (Dracaena Ti) was also 
macerated and fermented, becoming still more alcoholic than the potato. This was less acceptable, tending to 
produce irascibility, while the sour-potato swill only inflamed sexuality. No great orgies of drunkenness resulted 
from the use of any of the foregoing. The vice existed only in mild forms. Awa in excess tended to waste and 
paralyze the system.
With the foreigner came the products of the still. Only then did drunkenness begin to reign. Drunken orgies were an 
essential part of the beach-comber's paradise on Hawaiian shores. He found the Hawaiian an apt disciple, save that, 
like all savages, he did not know how to stop. The story of the early missionaries is one of constant impediment in 
their labors from the inebriety of the King and chiefs and of frequent annoyance and disturbance from the riotous 
orgies of the common people. While Kamehameha lived he put considerable check upon both his people and himself 
as to temperance. His youthful successor, Liholiho, plunged, with his people, into a carnival of excess.
The contribution of drunkenness to depopulation was mainly indirect, although powerful. It tended to overturn and 
destroy whatever remains of wholesome social order and domestic life survived the general wreck consequent upon 
foreign intercourse. It stimulated the passions; it solved the remaining bonds of self-restraint; it flung prudence to 
the winds; thus it enhanced the effectiveness of the causes previously described. Intemperance is always a chief ally 
of impurity. The gin-mill and the brothel are close partners.
(3) Oppression of the chiefs.-There was a considerable mortality during the first quarter of this century, when the 
sandalwood trade was active, caused by the heavy exactions of the King and chiefs upon the common people to 
procure this precious commodity wherewith to liquidate their immense debts to the traders, incurred for yachts and 
costly luxuries. Great numbers of men were driven into the mountains upon this errand, passing many nights in cold 
and rain with slight protection and little food. The result was great waste of life and the almost entire extirpation of 
the precious tree. Other severe exactions of labor were common, Great levies of labor and supplies were frequently 
made at a chief's caprice from the tenants of remote estates, to be brought to the island capital. This was an evil 
much increased by the temptations of foreign trade. No doubt it materially contributed to the decimation of the 
people, Oppression by chiefs has ceased to be an operative cause for nearly half a century, or since constitutional 
government began to exist. .
(4) Infectious and epidemic diseases.-These have largely added to the destruction of the population. There seems 
to be good reason for accepting the theory that new diseases attack with more severity and greater fatality races who 
are unaccustomed to them or to their like. No doubt any race becomes in time somewhat hardened to the diseases 
which infest it, the weaker and more susceptible individuals being weeded out, and the hardier ones transmitting 
their resisting power to descendants.
Measles first appeared here in 1849. Great numbers died in all parts of the group. The excess of mortality was 
attributed to the patients' bathing in order to alleviate the external heat and irritation of the malady.
Smallpox first arrived in 1853. Before vaccination could be efficiently administered to the natives the infection had 
spread over the island of Oahu, and one-half, or 15,000, of the people on that island, perished in a few weeks. After 
their manner they rushed to visit their friends when attacked by the disease. Isolation and precaution against 
infection is foreign to their natures. By the energy of the then "missionary" Government quarantine measures were 
vigorously enforced on the other islands, and the people thoroughly vaccinated, so that only a few hundred deaths 
occurred. Foreigners were all promptly vaccinated, and nearly all escaped.
Malarial and other epidemics have been repeatedly introduced, and from time to time have produced extensive 
mortality among the natives. The admirable climate, with its sea air and the ozone of the mountain land breezes, 
seemed in each case rapidly to mitigate the virulence with which earlier cases of the new malady would be 
characterized, later cases assuming milder forms, until the disease seemed to slowly die out. This was very marked 
in the instance of what was known as the "boo-hoo" fever, which attacked all newly arrived foreigners. It was quite 
severe at its first appearance in 1851, but by 1857 had become a very trifling malady.

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