University of Hawaii at Manoa Library

Home: The Annexation Of Hawaii: A Collection Of Document

Hawaii Organic Act: Congressional debates on Hawaii Organic Act

[ Previous Page ] -- [ View PDF ] -- [ View in MS Word ] -- [ Next Page ]

purpose of preventing the Crown from having the power to unseat members of 
Parliament, so as to give to the House of Commons the power to determine its 
own membership. When we arrived at the proposition here to set up an 
independent government, those provisions were in almost all of the old 
continental constitutions, or, as we called them, charters; and they were 
incorporated in the Constitution of the United States. I have no disposition to 
change the provision that each House of the Congress of the United States shall be 
the sole and exclusive judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its 
own membership; but at the same time, when we come to the subordinate 
tribunals in this great imperial affair we have got here, republics united into a 
confederation, I think it is a wise thing to have the provision that is inserted in 
the fifteenth section of this bill. If it goes out, I do not know that it would ever 
make any difference in Hawaii or that it would in Alabama or in any other 
State of the Union, but I believe the principle of it is correct.
Mr. SPOONER. Mr. President, I move to strike out the fifteenth section of 
the bill and to insert in lieu of it:
Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of 
its own members.
I have listened to the statement of the Senator from Alabama [Mr. MORGAN], 
but I can not persuade myself that this departure from our theory in this instance, 
or in any other, as to the government of a Territory is a wise one. Our theory 
has been that the various departments of the Government should be independ-
ent of each other-the executive, the judicial, and the legislative- each, of 
course, being supreme within its own sphere. I am too old-fashioned to like the 
proposition that the courts shall become involved in any way in the constitution 
of the legislative bodies. This is a very small senate provided for here, a senate 
of thirteen, if I recollect.
Mr. MORGAN.   Fifteen.
Mr. SPOONER. Fifteen. Under the provisions of this bill the chief justice and 
the two associate justices who constitute the supreme court are not to be 
appointed by the President of the United States. They are to be chosen over there; 
and they are impeach-able. They are not to be removed by the President of the 
United States, but they are subject to impeachment. They are subject to 
impeachment before the senate. The senate is the impeaching body or tribunal. 
The house of representatives, of course, presents the articles of impeachment. 
I do not myself take kindly to the notion that the judges of the supreme court, 
who may be tried, one or more of them, should be given power to decide who 
should be or who should not be. in a contest, members of the senate. Under this it 
might happen, perhaps it is not probable, but it might happen, that the leading 
members of the senate at least would owe their seats in that body to a decision 
of the supreme court. The supreme court are not only to pass upon the validity of 
the election, but they are also to be the sole judge as to who has been elected.
I believe it is a bad provision. It is utterly out of harmony with our theory. It 
does not maintain the independence absolutely of the three departments of the 
government, and no reason has been given, at least none that I have heard, 
which ought, I think, to commend it to the judgment of the Senate. If that is an 
intelligent people, as the Senator says it is, if they have not only capacity for 
self-government, but for a fine government, I can conceive of no reason why 
each house should not be, as the houses here all are, from the Congress down* 
the judges of the election, returns, and qualifications of their own members. It 
seems to me to be rather a vicious departure from our theory that the judges 
who are to be tried by a senate should have had a voice in seating the members 
of that body. I am willing to take the judgment of the Senate upon it.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Secretary will state the amendment 
proposed by the Senator from Wisconsin.
The SECRETARY. It is proposed, on page 9, line 17, to strike out section 15, as 
case any election to a seat in either house is disputed and legally contested, the 
supreme court of the Territory of Hawaii shall be the solo judge of whether or 
not a legal election for such seat has been held; and, if it shall find that a legal 
election has been held, it shall be the sole judge of who has been elected.
And in lieu thereof to insert:
SEC. 15. Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and quali-
fications of its own members.
The amendment was agreed to.
.   Mr. CLARK of Wyoming.   I propose, as an amendment, to strike out all of 
section 56 and insert in lieu thereof:
That the legislature at its first session shall create counties for the Territory 
of Hawaii and provide for the government thereof.
Mr. HALE.   What section?
Mr. CLARK of  Wyoming.   Section 56.
I will say in explanation of the amendment that a very peculiar condition of 
affairs exists within the republic of Hawaii. There is there a central 
government, consisting of a president and his cabinet. There are no 
municipalities. There are no county or-

ganizations. There is no place, as I understand-and if I am wrong I hope I will 
be corrected-in the island of Hawaii where even a deed, or a mortgage, or a 
bill of sale, or any other legal instrument can receive registry except at the city 
of Honolulu.
Mr. MORGAN. I think the Senator is mistaken about that. There are 
registrars in all the islands.
Mr. CLARK of Wyoming. Are there registrars in the islands who have the 
authority to register and keep records?
Mr. MORGAN.   1 so understand.
Mr. CLARK of Wyoming. I do not so understand it. If I am mistaken, I 
should be glad if the Senator will correct me. because that is the sole object of 
this amendment, so that the people may have access to the records.
Mr. TILLMAN. Do you not provide for local punishment by local courts?
Mr. CLARK of Wyoming. There are local courts. There are circuit courts-
five of them.
Mr. TILLMAN.    What about warrants?
Mr. CLARK of Wyoming. I suppose they have means to get those, but what 
I refer to is the registration of deeds. There should be counties created there, so 
that within each county there would be a county clerk and register of deeds.
Mr. TILLMAN.   And a sheriff.
Mr. CLARK of Wyoming. Yes; whatever form of government they may 
provide, so that the Senator from South Carolina, for instance, if he lived on the 
island of Hawaii and wanted to register a deed, would not be compelled to put it 
off four or five days till he could take a vessel and go over to the city of 
Honolulu, on the island of Oahu.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Wyoming proposes an 
amendment, which will be stated.
The SECRETARY. On page 23, section 56, line 10, after the word "legislature," it is 
proposed to strike out "may"and insert "shall at its first session;"and after the 
word "counties,"to strike out "and town and city municipalities;"so that if 
amended the section would read:
SEC. 56. That the legislature shall at its first session create counties within the 
Territory of Hawaii and provide for the government thereof.
Mr. PL ATT of Connecticut. I was called out for a moment. Does the 
Senator from Wyoming by his amendment propose to prevent the legislature 
from creating municipal governments there?
Mr. CLARK of Wyoming. No; I suppose they have the right to do that by 
virtue of their being a legislative power. The only object I had in vie w was that 
they should at least create the county governments at their first session.
Mr. SPOONER.   As it is now it is only permissive.
Mr. CLARK of Wyoming. As it is now it is only permissive. They might go 
on as they are at the present time. Every State and every Territory here has 
county governments.
Mr. MORGAN. Mr. President, it is probably necessary to confer upon the 
legislature of Hawaii the power to create counties, because that is a part of the 
organic government there which would naturally come under the jurisdiction of 
Congress to grant. Permission is therefore put into the proposed act to enable 
them to organize counties. I confess I have never heard any complaint made of 
the operation of the laws of Hawaii, as they are, about the registration of deeds 
or anything of that kind; but the subject came up before the commission and was 
discussed there, and my understanding is, although I may be in error about it, 
for I have not the statutes here and can not refer to them, that a registration 
system is provided in each county.
Mr. CLARK of Wyoming.   There are no counties.
Mr. MORGAN. I mean in each island, and that it is connected with the district 
court of the respective districts. I will explain in a moment what the system 
there is.
Mr. SPOONER. Will the Senator from Alabama permit me to ask him a 
question as he goes along?
Mr. MORGAN.   Certainly.
Mr. SPOONER.   Have there ever been counties there?
Mr. MORGAN. No. The entire group of islands is governed by the legislature, 
of course, from Honolulu, and that has led to some jealousy, particularly on the 
part of Hawaii, which is the largest island and the richest in the group. The 
town of Hilo is an aspiring town, and some of these days will be an important 
place. They have a very good anchorage in front, and there is a great deal around 
it to give promise of great success as a town.
I have no doubt the legislature will organize counties there and they will 
probably do it at the first session, but to do that they have to reorganize a great 
deal of the administrative system of the islands of Hawaii. For instance, they 
have no magistrates, no justices of the peace, in Hawaii. The district judge has 
all the jurisdiction and functions that we give to a justice of the peace and 
certain larger ones. I forget the number of districts. There are some ten or 
twelve, perhaps fifteen, in the islands. Some-times two islands are put into one 
district. Those courts, as I understand, are courts of record and have the power 
to accept

Return to Top

Terms of Use  |  UH Mānoa  |  UH System  |  Ask Us
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Library  |  2550 McCarthy Mall  |  Honolulu, Hawaii 96822 USA
808-956-7214 (Reference)  |  808-956-7203 (Circulation)  |  808-956-7205 (Administration)
808-956-5968 (fax)  |