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Hawaii Organic Act: Congressional debates on Hawaii Organic Act

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Hawaiians manifested a desire for English instruction, English schools were 
instituted in localities upon the request of a certain number of residents. Thus the 
large school in Honolulu, still called the "Royal School" and flourishing as part 
of the public system, was established and given its name to become the place 
where the scions of royalty and chiefly rank were to be educated. King Kalakaua 
and Queen Liliuokalani attended this school. English was early taught as a classic 
in the large mission schools.   It was recognized as the vernacular in 1876 at 
Lahainaluna Seminary, afterwards becoming there the dominant medium of 
instruction. Gradually the transformation went on until 1896, when teaching in 
this language became obligatory in all schools.   American text-books are em-
ployed almost exclusively in the public schools, those for the higher grades 
including the cream of English classics.   The only exceptions to the rule are 
Hawaiian geography and history.        Select schools, where tuition fees are 
charged, are permitted in the state system, and, as a matter of fact, exist in a 
group centering in the Honolulu High School.   This is under a section of the 
law which provides "that the department may, in its discretion, establish, 
maintain, and discontinue select schools, taught in the English language, at a 
charge of such tuition fees for attendance as it may deem proper: Provided, 
however, That such select schools shall be established only in places where free 
schools of the same grade for pupils within the compulsory age are readily 
accessible to the children of such district." The Honolulu High School is 
organized in three departments of English, mathematics, and natural science.  
Good work is also done in foreign languages. Under the constitution of the republic 
of Hawaii, aid from the public treasury to sectarian schools was prohibited.   
Formerly it was the regular practice of successive legislatures to pass grants of 
money to schools under the control of different denominations.   Instead of 
becoming weaker from the withdrawal of public aid, the independent schools in 
1890 exhibited an increase of attendance proportionate to that of the public 
schools. There are several noble institutions, under both Protestant and Catholic 
auspices, established in the islands.   Oahu College, at Honolulu, a foundation of the 
American mission, has a handsome group of public buildings.   It has chairs in the 
ancient and modern languages and natural philosophy, besides the usual academic 
branches.   St. Louis College, also at Honolulu, is conducted by Roman Catholic 
brothers, giving instruction from primary to classical grades, with music and 
drawing as specialties.   It is exclusively for boys and has the longest roll of all the 
schools in the islands.   Iolani College, owned and directed by the Anglican bishop 
of Honolulu, with an able staff of instructors, does substantial work. There are 
schools for girls, giving industrial as well as scholastic instruction, conducted by 
the successors of the American mission, the Anglican, and the Catholic sisters, 
respectively, not only in Honolulu but in country towns. The Kamehameha 
schools, for native boys and girls, were founded by the will of the late Mrs. 
Charles R. Bishop, a Hawaiian princess eligible for the crown, but refusing 
nomination therefor.    These, besides giving tuition from primary to high school 
grades, inclusive, afford the benefits of manual training in various branches of 
mechanical and domestic industry.
For many years past the greater part of the trade of the islands has 
been with the United States.   In 1897 the exports to the United 
States amounted to $15,311,685; in 1898, $16,587,311, and in 1899, 
$22,188,206.   During these and many previous years the balance of 
trade has been largely in favor of the Hawaiian Islands. In 1897 we 
exported to the Hawaiian Islands $5,478,224; in 1898, $6,827,848, and in 
1899, $11,305,587.   The trade of the islands during these years with 
nations other than the United States has been very small, and it is a 
remarkable showing of the fertility and capabilities of the islands 
from an agricultural standpoint.   The average in their favor for each 
of the three years amounting to nearly $10,000,000.   The trade of 
the islands, amounting now to more than $33,000,000 annually, will 
probably within the next decade amount to $60,000,000 or $70,000,000; 
and I do not know of any reason why, when the agricultural resources 
of the island are fully developed, we may not count on a trade of 
$100,000,000 annually. It must not be concluded, however, that the 
Hawaiian people reap all the advantages of this enormous and 
greatly increasing trade.   As a matter of fact, the bulk of the valuable 
sugar, coffee, and rice lands in cultivation are owned and controlled 
by great corporations, and very few Hawaiians are interested in these 
corporations.   Some of the great sugar plantations make enormous 
profits.   One of them, it is said, on a capital of more than $2,000,-000, 
in one year made a profit of about 80 per cent.   Nor is it true that all of 
the stockholders in these great and money-making corporations are 
residents of the islands.   Numbers of them reside elsewhere; 
consequently the blighting effects of absentee landlord-ism, so much 
complained of in Ireland, are in evidence to some extent in the 
Hawaiian Islands.   In other words, the islands have been developed 
largely through the efforts of speculators and capitalists, and one result 
of this has been to place the bulk of the rich sugar, coffee, and rice 
producing lands in cultivation in the hands of persons other than the 
native Hawaiians.      The statement has been made that the average 
native Hawaiian owns between 2 and 3 acres of land and the 
corporations and persons other than Chinese and Japanese own, on 
an average, 400 acres each.   These figures, if true, show to some 
extent how the lands have passed into the hands of persons other than 
the natives. The citizens of Hawaii are, as a rule, educated.   My 
information is that of male citizens, 21 years of age and upward, 
more than 95 per cent can read and write the English or Hawaiian lan-
guages.   This high degree of intelligence in educational attainments 
has been brought about by eighty years of persistent effort by the 
government in educational matters. It must not  be supposed, 
however, that in Hawaii where among the citizens education and 
intelligence is and for many years past has been the rule, and where 
illiteracy is the exception, that since the overthrow of  the monarchy 
any considerable

number of citizens have participated in the elections, as the following 
statement, taken from the official records, shows : In the last election 
under, the monarchy, in February, 1893, the total vote was 14,217; of 
these 9,931 were Hawaiians.   This is about the usual proportion of 
one voter in five of population. After the overthrow of the monarchy 
in 1893, the first election was for a constitutional convention under 
the Republic, May, 1894. The total vote cast was 8,853; of these, 939 
were Hawaiians; and in the next general election, held September, 
1897. the total vote cast was 2,693; of these, 1,126 were Hawaiians, and 
this, too, with a population of 110,000.   I wish to call the attention of 
my Republican friends to the fact that in the Hawaiian Islands, as in 
the South, the government is in the hands of the Anglo-Saxon race. 
Wherever this race has gone they have demonstrated that they are 
the superior race, and when it comes to matters of government they 
are stronger and more vigorous than other races, and rule 
accordingly. The bill before the House provides a strictly republican 
form of government for the Territory of Hawaii under the letter as 
well as the spirit of the Constitution of the United States.  We give 
to them local self-government in unequivocal terms, and to the 
general assembly of the Territory power is given to enact all local 
legislation necessary not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws 
of the United States. We place in the hands of the citizens of the 
Territory, by this bill, the means of redressing any local grievances 
that may now or hereafter exist.   The Committee on Territories, 
having in charge the bill, have endeavored to follow and improve 
upon all bills heretofore passed by the Congress of the United 
States for the government of Territories, and to give to the Hawaiian 
Islands most liberal form of government, strictly in accordance with 
the letter and under the limitations of the Constitution of the United 
States. Whatever criticism may be made upon the action of the com-
mittee in other respects, it can not be charged that the members 
were wanting in liberality, in providing for the future government 
of the Hawaiian Islands; nor can it be said that by the provisions of 
the bill the Hawaiians are denied any rights, privileges, or immunities 
guaranteed by the Constitution to any citizen of the United States. 
The people of the Hawaiian Islands understand that annexation 
means that the islands shall become a part of our territory and be 
governed under our Constitution as all other Territories of the 
United States have in the past been governed; and along the line of 
carrying out this contract between the people of Hawaii and the 
United States, the President, in his message to Congress in December 
last, states that "the people of these islands are entitled to the benefits 
and privileges of our Constitution." The bill declares all persons who 
were citizens of the republic of Hawaii on August 12, 1898, to be 
citizens of the United States, and that the Constitution and the laws 
of the United States, locally applicable, shall have the same force and 
effect there as elsewhere in the United States.   The right to vote is 
extended to all male citizens residing in the Territory for one year and 
in the district in which they register not less than three months, who 
shall register, pay a poll tax of $1, and be able to read and write the 
English or Hawaiian language.   These provisions as to suffrage are 
largely modeled after the constitution and laws of many of the most 
progressive States of the Union, among others those of 
Massachusetts and South Carolina. The committee deemed it wise to 
strike out the provisions in the original bill requiring voters for 
certain offices to be possessed of property of the value of $1,000 or 
have an annual income of not less than $600, because it is not 
believed that the same are necessary to secure good government in 
the Territory, and because such provisions are contrary to the spirit 
of a republican form of government, and, if permitted and practiced, 
would inevitably place the government of the Territory in the hands 
of a moneyed oligarchy, and in effect would amount to placing dan-
gerous power in the hands of men who happen to be possessed of 
wealth, and, politically speaking, would tend to make a serf of a 
man possessed of the highest mental and moral attainments, should 
he happen not to be the owner of $1,000 worth of property or have an 
income of $600 a year. To my mind it is not conceivable that the 
Hawaiian people could be secure in their rights under the 
Constitution of the United States and continue prosperous, happy, 
and bo good citizens , with the right to vote and have a voice in the 
government of the Territory restricted in this way. By the passage of 
this bill Congress admits that what some of the States have done in 
the way of denying the right to vote to the ignorant and vicious is 
not only necessary, but right and proper, and therefore commendable. 
Mr. Chairman, since the beginning of the war with Spain many serious 
and vexed questions have come before Congress for settlement.   While 
that war was in progress, as a matter of necessity

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