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Hawaii Organic Act: Congressional debates on Hawaii Organic Act

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Mr. KNOX.   There is no question that the existing laws of the 
United States regulating immigration and the importation of contract 
labor will apply. Now, in section 7 -- Mr. WILLIAMS of 
Mississippi.   Before the gentleman goes to that section will he allow 
me a remark?   I notice on page 53 of the bill a provision that section 
1890 of the Revised Statutes of the United States shall not apply to 
the Territory of Hawaii.   That is the statute, as I understand, which 
prohibits any religions corporation from owning more than $50,000 
worth of real estate in a Territory of the United States. What was the 
idea in the minds of the committee when they prohibited the 
application of that statute to Hawaii?   It seems to me it would be a 
good idea to provide against the dangers of mortmain, and there ought 
to be some limitation, whether $50,000 or some other sum, as to the 
amount of real estate that may be acquired by any such institution. 
Mr. KNOX.   The reason for that provision in the bill was that there 
are now existing in Hawaii quite a number of charities very largely 
endowed, which are performing a very meritorious charitable work 
in the islands; and if this provision were extended it would militate 
against these institutions, which all the people there and all the 
Americans who have ever been there consider to be of the highest 
and most meritorious and beneficial character to the people of the 
islands. Mr. WILLIAMS of Mississippi.   But, if the gentleman 
from Massachusetts will excuse me, it being once admitted - and I 
think he himself will admit that the policy underlying the statutes 
of mortmain and the policy underlying all of our prohibitions against 
the ownership of property beyond prescribed amounts by religious 
corporations and charitable corporations, is a good policy - it being 
once admitted that that is a wise policy, then it seems to me that the 
fact that there are a good many charitable institutions in Hawaii 
which are doing a great deal of good does not militate against the 
wisdom of the statute. If any of these corporations now own over 
$50,000 worth of real estate, it might militate against the idea of 
fixing that particular amount, because that particular limit might 
act as taking their property without due process of law, and might 
interfere with their vested rights; but why not fix some limit in the 
statute? Mr. KNOX.   There is great force, of course, in the gentle-
man's suggestion, but to answer frankly, I do not think that the 
House would probably limit it to any sum that would cover these 
large charitable institutions in Hawaii.   For instance, they run up 
to very huge amounts - $500,000.  They hold that property now, and a 
greater amount probably. Mr. WILLIAMS of Mississippi.   I 
understand that we can not interfere with those who already own it, 
but why not say that charitable and religions corporations shall not 
hereafter acquire an amount exceeding 150,000, leaving those that 
have their vested right the land which they now possess. Mr. KNOX.   
Of course, considering the small number of people in Hawaii who 
constitute the thrifty class, the intelligent and controlling class there, 
and the great demand made on account of those who may become or 
are subjects of charity, and the great work these institutions do, it 
seems that the reason for the limitation upon the amount does not 
exist.   There is another thing to which I call the attention of the 
gentleman -- Mr. WILLIAMS of Mississippi.   In that connection 
-- Mr. KNOX.   Just a moment.   There is another thing that I call 
the attention of the gentleman to, and that is that while in America we 
have a vast country, consisting of many States, Hawaii is a small 
community, with probably less than half the number of people in 
the gentleman's district, and while the benefits are great in so small a 
community the evils can be but small. Mr. WILLIAMS of 
Mississippi.   Well, they may be coextensive with the territory and 
with the population.   Now, is there not an actual danger that the 
majority of the real estate of Hawaii will go into dead hands - that 
is, into the hands of charitable and religions institutions?     Mr. 
KNOX.   There would be nothing for anybody if the majority of the 
property of Hawaii went into the hands of such organizations. Mr. 
WILLIAMS of Mississippi.   That is a very bad condition far any 
country to be in, no matter how small. Mr. KNOX.   Well, it is 
very small, and I think the evil does Dot call for legislation. Mr. 
COOPER of Wisconsin.   Mr. Chairman -- The CHAIRMAN.   
Does the gentleman yield? Mr. KNOX.   Yes. Mr. COOPER of 
Wisconsin.   Will the gentleman please state what these charitable 
organizations are, how they are organized, and for what purposes?  
Mr. KNOX.   I have a statement here of the charitable institutions in 
Hawaii   Aside from religions and charitable institutions, of which 
there are a number, Protestant and Roman Catholic,

there are several institutions of a charitable and educational nature 
-- Mr. RIDGELY.   Mr. Chairman, a point of order.   It is abso-
lutely impossible for us to hear a word, and many of us are interested 
in this presentation of facts. The CHAIRMAN.   The committee will 
be in order. Mr. KNOX.   I would state to the distinguished 
gentleman from Wisconsin, as this is quite a long list and we have 
a perfect list here, would it answer or satisfy him if this should be 
inserted in the RECORD? Mr. HAMILTON.   I simply suggest to the 
gentleman that I will incorporate that statement into some remarks 
which I shall have occasion to make during the consideration of 
the bill.   It covers all of these charitable institutions and the 
conditions surrounding each of them. Mr. COOPER of Wisconsin.   
I notice that the opening paragraph of that statement is in language 
like this:
Aside from the religions and charitable organizations there are certain others.
Mr. KNOX.   Aside from the religious and charitable institutions in 
Hawaii there are some -- Mr. COOPER of Wisconsin.   That is just 
what I want to know. What are the religious and charitable 
institutions?   You say there are certain other institutions aside from 
those.   How much property on the islands do the charitable and 
religions institutions own? Mr. KNOX.   I am unable to answer that.   
I have received no figures. Mr. COOPER of Wisconsin.   Is not that 
the vital question that is raised by the gentleman from Mississippi [Mr. 
WILLIAMS]? Mr. KNOX.   I can say to the gentleman that education 
in Hawaii is not connected with any church or any denomination, 
but is absolutely unsectarian.    Under the laws of Hawaii the 
schools are entirely separated from sectarian control. Mr. COOPER 
of Wisconsin.   Is there any limitation in the bill on the amount of 
property that a religious charitable institution or organization can 
own or acquire? Mr. KNOX.   There is none. Now, in section 7 we 
undertake to give a list of the laws of Hawaii that are repealed, 
that are no longer in force on account of this provision that all laws 
must come up to the standard of the Constitution and laws of the 
United States.   I think the very names of these laws will suggest a 
reason for their repeal.   That is, by looking at the names or them 
you will see that they apply to an independent republic other than 
the United States, and would not be applicable to a country over 
which the laws of the United States were extended.   But in the 
report, to which I invite attention, there is a statement of the laws 
which are repealed, with a brief description of them, so that any 
gentleman may find out for himself on examination the laws that 
have been repealed by this bill. The offices which are abolished by 
this bill are no longer applicable to the United States territory.   
They are the president of the Republic, the minister of foreign 
affairs, of the interior, of finance, etc.   The amendment to official 
titles requires no explanation. Mr. COOPER of Wisconsin.   Will the 
gentleman permit another interruption right there? Mr. KNOX.   
Certainly. Mr. COOPER of Wisconsin.   Section 7 of this bill says 
that chapter 32, relating to ramie, and chapter 38, relating to taro 
flour, are repealed.   Why are they repealed?   What is the nature of 
them? Mr. KNOX.   They have no relevancy to anything existing 
now under United States laws.   The report explains every one of 
these.   By another section we simply undertake to keep all obli-
gations, contracts, and rights of action which now exist, to secure 
and preserve vested rights, to provide for the continuance of liti-
gation that has been begun in the courts of Hawaii, that it may go 
on to final judgment in courts of the United States and Hawaii, and 
that execution and judgment shall be properly enforced by proper 
officers of the United States or the Territory.   The same provision 
applies both to civil and criminal proceedings, pending and 
unfinished, in the courts of Hawaii at the time that this bill shall 
take effect. Chapter 2 provides for the legislative power.   I would 
say that this whole provision in regard to a legislature for Hawaii 
does not differ from the general legislative provision as to 
Territories of the United States, nor does it differ from the 
provisions of our general Territorial laws as to legislatures. The 
number of the house is made 80 and the number of the senate 15.   
I believe under the republic of Hawaii both houses were made up of 
15 members.   We have simply doubled the number in the popular 
branch, making it 80 instead of 15, and keeping the old number of 15 
in the senate, preserving the names of house of representatives and 
senate, although our general Territorial law provides that the upper 
house shall be called the council and the lower the house of 

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