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Hawaii Organic Act: Congressional debates on Hawaii Organic Act

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3715
Shades of Kossuth, Washington, and Lincoln, behold the slavery under 
the American Constitution, beneath the American flag! On the 
plantations of from 5,000 to l0,000 acres, with from 500 to 1,200 laborers 
on each, are lumas, or, as commonly called there, "slave drivers."   A 
luma is over from 40 to 100 contract laborers, and he stands over them 
with a long or loaded whip, docks them, when it suits his fancy, a 
quarter or a half day, and drives them back and forth to work.   A 
whistle is carried to summon other lumas to subdue refractory spirits. 
If any of the laborers grow refractory at the conduct of the drivers and 
revolt, the manager telephones some miles to the local attorney, who 
then swears to an affidavit (invokes the sacred law to enforce slavery) 
charging the laborers with disobedience, and officers are sent to seize 
and bind them and drag them into court, before a judge appointed and 
not elected, and who is a part of the anti-labor Dole combine. These 
men, singly or in bunches of scores, sometimes are driven into what is 
called a court and fined and costed, for the first offense, $3.50 to 
$4.50; the second. $8.50, and the third may be imprisonment not 
exceeding ninety days.   The date of conviction, penalty, and a mount 
of fine and cost is written across the contract of labor by this court, not 
of record nor of justice, and the laborer is ordered to return to work.   
If be complies, the amount of fine and costs is deducted from his 
monthly wages; and if he refuses, he boards it out in prison at 50 cents 
a day at hard labor. In these prisons on American soil, like on the boat 
that brought them over, they are crowded into rooms with ten or 
fifteen in a department, wearing stripes like criminals. If any man can 
read these conditions without his heart revolting I question whether his 
heart is human. Of course the people over there in that part of our 
country are unhappy and unfortunate; all are unfortunate - the 
master, the slave, the free - all, all are unfortunate, for the bubonic 
plague is upon them. Those who are not suffering are fleeing in mind 
and in body from its ravages and deaths.   What is the condition of 
these 40.000 contract laborers, what their plight in this misfortune in 
that part of our country?   What chance for charity will they stand 
either in indulgence or in money from the exorbitant masters of the 
Hawaiian islands, who, paying their managers from $7,000 to $12,000 
a year, are yet able to pay annual dividends of 60 per cent? What will the 
masters do for the contract laborers during this plague?   They 
brought these laborers there who are peculiarly susceptible to this 
disease.   Who knows but they brought this disease to the American 
islands?   But the inquiry now is, what can be expected of men and 
corporations in this exigency who will countenance and continue 
such a system of slave labor?   The masters will deduct the time that 
the slave suffers from it or flees from it and add the lost time to the 
end of the service. The Government of this country will appropriate 
hundreds of thousands to quarantine the suspicioned, to relieve the 
distressed, and to bury the dead, but the masters will hold their ill-
gotten gains while they add to the deaths and the fury of the disease 
by imprisoning in coops the slaves for violation of their civil contract. 
This may be harsh treatment for the violation of a contract, but some 
of the prisoners told Rev. Levy last summer that prison was preferable 
to service under brutish and slave-driving masters and landlordism and 
tyranny on the plantations.

Once in a while a luma is killed, but oftener a laborer.  Conflicts and 
personal beatings are common. What is the price they get for 
submitting to this slavery?   For Orientals $15 and for Europeans $18 a 
month and board and clothe themselves.   Wives and daughters and 
sons are paid as follows: Wives and daughters 20 years old. 40 cents 
a day; 18 to 20 years old, 35 cents a day; 16 to l8 years old, 30 cents a 
day; 14 to 16 years old, 25 cents a day; sons, from 10 to 18 years old, 
50 cents a day; 11 to 10 years old, 40 cents a day; 12 to 14 years old, 25 
cents a day. To show the power, and self-executing power, lodged in 
the hands of the masters, it only need be stated that before leaving 
their countries the immigration company exacts security in money or 
from friends that the laborer will continue his service, and the 
immigration company on desertion returns to the master a pro-
portionate share of the guaranty. The Dole official family compact 
and the officialdom, under the influence of the immigration and the 
slave mill and plantation managers, enforce these nefarious practices, 
and the supreme court decides that all these practices are lawful, and 
decides that they are not in violation of the Hawaiian constitution, 
that declares that involuntary servitude, except for crime, of which 
the party shall be duly convicted, shall not exist in the islands. What 
do Americans think of such a judiciary, such officials, such a 
slavery? Talk to Americans about a judiciary that supports such 
practices!   It ought to be pulled up root and branch.   Get ft judiciary 
that knows the law and will enforce it - one that is free from the con-
trolling influence of officers appointing and officers surrounding. But, 
sir, would you expect any decency in politics or fairness in a land 
that works men and women and children as slaves, imprisons them 
for debt, where involuntary servitude exists and flourishes?   What 
is to be expected from a government of slave owners, slave drivers, 
slavery apologists? Let us call upon the press to protect labor against 
such abuses, on the pulpit to denounce this crying evil, and may we 
not hope that Congress will crush it out now and forever and its 
members be held responsible to labor for a continuance of this 
infamous contract-labor system?   [Loud applause.]           Mr. KNOX.   
I yield to the gentleman from Iowa [Mr. LANE] such time as be may 
desire.

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