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Hawaii Organic Act: Congressional debates on Hawaii Organic Act

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3704
Hawaiian people.   It has proved cumbersome, expensive, inadequate. 
Many doubtful questions of admiralty jurisdiction have arisen. 
Under Article IV of the Constitution the judicial power of the 
United States extends to all questions of maritime and admiralty 
jurisdiction.  Here is the harbor of Honolulu, congested with 
shipping, with such questions arising almost daily, with no tribunal to 
pass upon them.   Other questions have arisen in the administration of 
criminal law, as there is no provision in Hawaii for a grand jury, 
and a provision exists for a majority verdict of juries.   There has 
been no power to make appropriations for public improvements, for 
roads, or to extend the wharves or harbor facilities. The suspension 
of the conveyance of the public lands was ordered by the President in 
September, 1898.   Persons who have had inchoate rights, homestead 
rights, and others have been unable to perfect their title.   The 
Attorney-General rendered an opinion that although the municipal 
laws of Hawaii remained, yet the conveyances of the public lands 
were not authorized. In addition, under this government large 
numbers of Japanese contract laborers have been imported into the 
island.   By the last report which I have here, which has just been 
received, of the collector-general of customs of Hawaii, it appears 
that the immigration for 1899 was as follows: That there arrived in 
Hawaii 975 Chinese, 26,103 Japanese, and 5,647 of all others, and 
that there departed during the same time 1,514 Chinese, 2,780 
Japanese, and 4,769 others. Twenty-five thousand contract Japanese 
laborers have been imported into Hawaii since it was United States 
territory, subject to the United States laws, waiting for the United 
States Congress to give them a government. It is time that this 
reproach upon the United States be removed, and the importation of 
con tract labor into Hawaii be forever ended by the action of 
Congress. Now, the duty is laid upon Congress to provide a 
government for these islands.   In providing that government no 
question of general policy as to the people of other islands should 
have any weight.   The government that we provide is to be 
decided, and decided alone, upon the needs of the Hawaiian people 
and upon their fitness for a representative and free government.   In 
this way alone can we do justice to the people of Hawaii.   They are 
entitled to a government for the Hawaiian people, not for the 
Puerto Rican, not for the Filipinos. As to the character of the 
government that we provide, we should not be deterred by the fear of 
establishing any troublesome precedent for the future.   If the 
conditions in Hawaii are not like those in Puerto Rico, in Cuba, or 
in the Philippines, then the establishment of the government that is 
made in Hawaii can form no precedent for such government, if any, 
as Congress may establish in other islands.   Upon the merits of the 
case alone as applied to the Hawaiian people we ask you to provide 
a government for them. Neither should we be deterred as to the 
character of the government we provide by any fear of a claim of 
statehood hereafter on the part of the people of Hawaii.   They may 
never ask it.   It may never be considered proper to grant it.   But 
upon that question we can not bind the future. We can not bind a 
single Congress that shall succeed this one. We can not bind the 
next session of this Congress.   If claim is ever made for statehood 
upon the part of Hawaii, it must be decided by the Congress then 
representing the American people, and we can not make one hair 
black nor white in reference to that decision. -   But there is nothing 
to fear, I believe, in this matter.   I believe the Hawaiian people are 
content to go on under the free, representative government of a 
United States Territory, that shall give them the protection of the 
flag of the country and an opportunity to develop their wonderful 
resources, their marvelous, their beautiful country. The American 
people can be trusted.   For more than fifty years the Territory of 
New Mexico has been an organized Territory of the United States, 
often seeking statehood at the hands of Congress and uniformly 
refused. For more than a generation the vast Territory of Alaska, 
the richest of land, one of the most valuable possessions of the United 
States, peopled with the boldest, the truest, and most enterprising 
American citizens, has existed, and yet has not an organization as a 
Territory.   There is no fear of haste upon the part of the people of 
the United States or of Congress in granting the right of statehood. I 
think I represent the opinion of every member here in saying that if 
it is possible for us to grant Territorial government to these islands 
like that of the other Territories of the United States - governments of 
which we have had experience, which have been perfected in the long 
years that Congress has dealt with them, governments which have 
had their particular laws generalized under statutes, and laws made 
applicable to all Territories - it is desirable to do so.

We are not met at the threshold of action by the question of the 
extension of the Constitution to Hawaii, for the annexation resolution 
provided that the municipal law of Hawaii that was not in 
contravention of the Constitution should remain until action by 
Congress.   And this bill, in so many words, extends the Constitution to 
Hawaii: so that there has not been practically a moment of time 
since the Hawaiian Islands were annexed to the United States that 
the Constitution has not been the standard by which all the laws of 
that country must be measured.   Before the annexation resolution and 
before our Constitution was extended there its spirit had gone. For 
sixty years the spirit of the American Constitution, the foundation 
of our traditions and our history, has existed in Hawaii, permeating 
the body politic, enlightening the legislation of the islands.   
Together with the Constitution has gone the spirit of the 
Declaration of Independence, and the great guaranty of personal 
freedom that we extend to Hawaii is extended by the consent of the 
governed. Can we, then, extend a free representative Territorial 
government to the people of Hawaii?   There has been no time since 
the Northwest Territory that there has not been several organized Ter-
ritories under the jurisdiction of Congress.   Twenty-eight Territories 
in all have been organized.   It has been the standard of government 
which we have adopted for all Territories of the United States where 
there was not a State organization. Now, the question I ask the 
members of the House to consider, and one that seems to me to be a 
fundamental one, are the people of Hawaii fitted for it; will it meet 
their needs; are they fitted to receive suffrage; will they appreciate 
the great responsibilities of government that is put upon them?   A 
word, then, as to the people of Hawaii.   We have there about 
110,000 people, the majority of them Asiatic - more than half 
Japanese and Chinese. But under our laws, under the bill as well as 
in the past, these Asiatics are and were not citizens of Hawaii in the 
sense of being entitled to suffrage or taking part in the government: 
and the moment that this bill is passed, the moment Hawaii is given 
Territorial government of the United States, the Asiatics, Japanese, 
and Chinese can never be citizens of Hawaii and can never exercise 
suffrage. Now, what as to the remainder of the populace of the 
Hawaiian Islands?   There are native Hawaiians, some 40,000 in 
number. The Hawaiians are a slowly dying race, fading out, soon to 
be wiped out from among the peoples of the earth.   The first census 
of Hawaii was taken in 1836, and from that time up to 1874, when the 
reciprocity treaty with the United States started business and 
enterprise in Hawaii, every census has shown a large and rapid 
decrease in the Hawaiian people.   No one can tell exactly the 
reason for it.   The chief reason, perhaps, is that they more quickly 
take to the vices of civilization than to the virtues.   They imitate its 
excesses; they do not possess its restraints. Like the American 
Indian, wherever they come in touch with civilization they fade and 
die away.   The position of the Hawaiian Islands also as a place for the 
calling of vessels of all nations has at all times offered inviting 
ground for epidemics, which have swept off the people in vast 
numbers.   Whatever the cause may be, they are a rapidly dying, 
fading nation.   Those that remain who will take any part under this 
government are fairly intelligent, simple, generally orderly; they are 
educated either in the English or in the Hawaiian language.   All the 
younger portion of the Hawaiians speak the English language; the 
older ones speak the Hawaiian language, and the newspapers are 
published in both the Hawaiian and English languages. In the early 
days of the missionaries - in 1830 - the Bible was translated into 
the Hawaiian language.   There are about 15,000 Portuguese.   Of 
these more than half were born in the islands of Hawaii.   More than 
half have been educated in the public schools of Hawaii, where the 
English language has been taught.   They are orderly, peaceful, law 
abiding.   We in America do not debar them from citizenship, and I 
think it will be admitted that in the large cities where there are many 
Portuguese they are among the best, most industrious, orderly, and 
tractable people. The chief consideration as to the wisdom of 
extending the Territorial government to Hawaii and as to the fitness 
of the people to receive it is that there is in Hawaii a controlling 
class, American, English, and German, not oppressive, but that has 
guided the people, shaped legislation, and been faithful to the best 
interest of Hawaii through all the vicissitudes of its later history. 
Among those who have favored the reactionary tendencies, who 
have opposed the present government, this has been called the 
missionary class. The missionaries went to Hawaii first in 1820 - 
went there to plant the seeds of a Christian civilization.   They went 
from New England.   The king at that time, recognizing their great 
work and what they could do in the future for Hawaii, gave them 
and their families in the islands valuable lands.   These missionaries 
were followed by other missionaries and their families.   They 
acquired other lands, and they lived there, intermarried, and were 
soon after joined by other pioneers, business men, those who looked 
to

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