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 ]

Under the the head of the "appointing power" he has power to appoint-
1. Judges circuit courts.
2. Attorney-general.
3. Treasurer.
4. Commissioner and inspectors of public lands.
5. Commissioner of agriculture.
6. Superintendent of health, public works.
7. Superintendent of public instruction.
8. Auditor.
9. Deputy auditor.
10. Surveyor.
11. High sheriff.

13. Members board of elections.
14. Boards of registration 
15. All other boards. 

There is also a secretary appointed for a term of four years by the 
President, and an attorney-general appointed for four years by the 

Now, as to the legislative branch, we provide for a Delegate from 
Hawaii to the United States House of Representatives.   That pro-
vision was inserted by the unanimous desire of the members of the 
committee regardless of party.   He is to be elected by voters 
qualified to vote for members of the house of representatives of the 
Territory of Hawaii.   He must possess the qualifications of 
members of the house of representatives of Hawaii, and the time and 
place and manner of holding elections for Delegate are to be as fixed 
by law.

We provide for a Territorial legislature composed of two houses, the upper house to be known as the senate and the lower house to be known as the house. I will append to my remarks a diagram which I have prepared, showing in outline the whole scheme of Territorial government. [For diagram see next page.] 

Mr. HILL.   Will it interrupt the gentleman if I ask him a question there? 

Mr. HAMILTON.   I think not. 

Mr. HILL.   I would like to ask you to state to the House how that Territorial Delegate is to be elected, on the division of nationalities.  In the voting how many Kanakas, how many Portuguese, and how many Americans will vote for that Delegate? 

Mr. HAMILTON.   Before I finish I will undertake to make that part of the situation clear.   We have stricken out the property qualification which the bill originally provided.   We only retain an educational qualification for the people of Hawaii; and I think I come within the bounds of absolute truth when I state to the gentleman that there is not a man, woman, or child above 12 years of age who was born in Hawaii, capable of acquiring learning, who can not read and write in English or Hawaiian. And, sir, I believe that these people are well qualified to understand and comprehend the meaning of the elective franchise. Now I come to the inquiry of the gentleman. 

Mr. HILL.   I do not question that matter, but the point I want to make 
is this; That the moment this provision for suffrage is made you 
then and there inaugurate a race war, which will drive these islands 
into a state of confusion for the next twenty-five years. 

Mr. HAMILTON.   I will endeavor to answer the gentleman along that line.   This is a most interesting question.   I can see how gentlemen may mistrust the capacity of these people, and I will discuss that question, and will pass as rapidly as possible from, this branch of the discussion to that.   I have shown how the bill provides that there shall be a Delegate to the United States House of Representatives, to be elected by voters qualified to vote for members of the house of representatives of Hawaii, who shall possess the qualifications of members of the house of representatives of Hawaii.   Now, what are the qualifications of the members of the senate and house in the Territory of Hawaii, and what are the qualifications of voters for members and senators? First, the Senate is composed of fifteen members, who hold for a term of four years, elected from four districts, and vacancies are filled at general and special elections; they must be male citizens of the United States, 25 years old, must have resided in Hawaii three years, and be qualified to vote for senators.   Each voter may cast one vote for each senator, and the required number of candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be senator from that district.   Voters must have the qualification of voters for representatives - that is, they must be male citizens of the United States, must have resided one year in Hawaii, three months in the district, must be 21 years old, and must be registered, must have paid a poll tax, and must be able to speak, read, and write the English or Hawaiian language. Now, the house of the Territory of Hawaii is composed of 30 members, elected from six districts every second year; vacancies may be filled at general or special elections; they must be male citizens of the United States, 25 years old, resident of Hawaii for three years, and be qualified to vote for representatives.   Each voter may cast a vote for as many representatives as are to be elected from the district, and the required number of candidates receiving the highest number of votes are to be representatives. Voters must be male citizens 21 years old, residents of Hawaii one year and the district three months, most be registered, must pay a poll tax, and be able to speak, read, and write the English or the Hawaiian language. 

Mr. HILL.   What of the voting population under the law as yon have it? 

Mr. HAMILTON.   The last registration of voters, under the monarchy, was: Hawaiians, 9,554; Portuguese, 2,091; foreigners, 1,770, and that includes Americans; total, 13,415.   These are as near the figures as I can get them. 

Mr. HILL.   Now, with the property qualification taken off, have you any estimate? 

Mr. HAMILTON.   With the property qualification taken off, it is no more 
than an estimate.   The estimated number of voters without the 
property qualification would be: Hawaiian, about 10,000; Portuguese, 
about 2,300; Americans and Europeans, about 3,000. 

Mr. HILL.   Then that would be about 4 to 1. 

Mr. HAMILTON.   That is true.   I am anxious to get to that because it has interested me, and I think it will be interesting to the gentlemen on this floor.

I want to touch on the judiciary, however, because I started out to 
divide the government into the executive, legislative, and judicial.   
We provide for a supreme court, with one chief justice and not less 
than two associate justices.   The judicial power of the Territory is 
vested in one supreme court and such inferior courts as the 
legislature may from time to time establish. Besides the supreme court 
and the circuit courts, five in number, there are district courts which 
correspond practically to our justice courts in this country.   No 
person can sit as a judge or juror in any case who is related by affinity 
or consanguinity within the third degree to parties in interest, or who 
shall be interested pecuniarily personally or through relatives who 
are parties.   The Territory is divided into five circuits, and the judges 
are appointed by the governor, and they hold office for six years. A 
Federal court is established for the Territory, which shall be a judicial 
district, called the "district of Hawaii," and be included in the Ninth 
judicial circuit of the United States, and shall have jurisdiction of 
cases commonly cognizable by both circuit and district courts.   The 
district attorney has a salary of $3,000 and the marshal a salary of 
$2,000.   They are appointed by the President, by and with the advice 
and consent of the Senate. At this point I want to call attention to 
some statements made by the gentleman from Indiana, from the 
Fort Wayne district [Mr. ROBINSON] , not unkindly, but because the 
nature of his remarks makes it proper that there should be some allusion 
to them. He made the statement that the bill as presented was an un-
American bill - I mean the bill presented by the commissioners - and 
he said that the bill presented finally by this committee was that bill 
with very little change. Now, Mr. Chairman, the gentleman 
evidently prepared his speech with reference to a state of facts which 
does not exist.   I presume he prepared it with reference to the bill as 
found in the report of the commissioners that did provide for a property 
qualification.   The gentleman made some reference to the alien contract 
labor law, and because there has been delay in connection with that 
he said there had been an opportunity for many Japanese to get into 
Hawaii after the transfer of sovereignty. Now, I simply want to call 
attention to this fact in answer to that: That a bill to extend our alien 
contract labor law in this country to Hawaii was presented in this 
House and passed this House February 0; 1899.    It went to the 
United States Senate,  where its consideration was objected to by Senator 
MORGAN.   Let the responsibility for this matter rest where it properly 
should.   The Republicans d id not then control the Senate of the United 

Strong argument was presented, and I come to the question which 
interests many gentlemen here and which has been of great Interest to 
me; and if I lay undue strength upon this, you will lay it to that 
interest.   Strong argument was presented for the property 
qualification as the bill was presented by the commissioners who 
visited the island and who framed the original bill. This feature was 
embodied in the bill as reported by the commission who visited the 
islands, but has net been retained by the committee.   Now, the 
argument presented in favor of a property qualification - and this will 
be interesting to my friend from Connecticut - was that the native 
vote will largely outnumber the white or Anglo-Saxon vote, as will 
also the Portuguese vote.   It is said that unless there be some means 
of control, the legislature must inevitably pass quickly into the hands 
of the natives, who would only be checked by the veto of the 
governor, which might be overborne by a two-thirds vote. That if the 
natives combine, it is reasonable to suppose that no white person 
could be elected to a seat in the legislature. That under the monarchy 
the upper house was composed of nobles appointed for life.

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)  |