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Hawaii Organic Act: Congressional debates on Hawaii Organic Act

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About 700 Chinese have been naturalized into the Hawaiian republic, 
and many Chinese and Japanese are there under government permits 
and labor contracts, under which they are bound to work for a term 
of years and to return to their own countries at the end of their term 
of service.  This bill provides (section 5) "that except as herein 
otherwise provided the Constitution and all laws of the United States 
locally applicable shall have the same force and effect within the 
said Territory as elsewhere in the United States," and thereby simply 
reenacts section 1891 of existing law, with the specified exceptions of 
sections 1850 and 1890.   This puts the Chinese-exclusion law and 
alien contract-labor law immediately in force in the Territory of 
Hawaii whenever this bill becomes a law.   At present, and pending 
the passage of this bill, the joint resolution of annexation provides 
that there shall be no further immigration of Chinese into Hawaii 
except as allowed by the laws of the United States, and that no 
Chinese, by virtue of anything contained in the joint resolution of 
annexation, shall come to the United States from Hawaii. 
Americans, although in a small minority, practically dominate the 
governmental, financial, and commercial affairs of the islands. The 
Chinese and Japanese possess no political power. The Portuguese are 
largely immigrants or descendants from immigrants from the islands 
and colonies of Portugal in the Atlantic and are not closely allied in 
sentiment to their native country. The public-school system makes 
the study of the English language compulsory.   There are 133 public 
and 60 private schools, and education is compulsory and free as to 
all public schools, American text-books are used in the schools.   
The language of business in English and the decisions of American 
courts prevail as precedents.
1. The legislative power of the Territory of Hawaii is carefully 
guarded by this bill.   The Territorial legislature is given power to 
legislate on "all rightful subjects of legislation not inconsistent with 
the Constitution and laws of the United States, locally applicable."   
The scope of the power of the Hawaiian legislature is limited, so 
that special and exclusive privileges, immunities, or franchises may 
not be granted to any corporation, association, or individual without 
approval of Congress. 3. Nor shall the Hawaiian legislature grant 
private charters, but it may pass general acts permitting 
incorporation for certain specific purposes. 3. Nor may it appropriate 
money for sectarian, denominational, or private schools, nor for any 
schools except schools exclusively under governmental control. 4. 
Nor may the government, or any political or municipal subdivision 
thereof , take stock in or lend its credit to any incorporated 
company. 5. Nor may the legislature contract any debt on behalf of 
the Territory or any political or municipal subdivision thereof, except 
to pay interest on existing indebtedness, suppress insurrection or 
provide for the common defense, and except that the legislature 
may authorize loans by the Territory or any such subdivision 
thereof for the creation of penal, charitable, and educational in-
stitutions, and for public buildings, wharves, harbors, and other 
public improvements. The total indebtedness, however, that may be 
incurred in any one year by the Territory, or any such subdivision 
thereof, is limited to 1 per cent of the taxable property of the Territory 
or any such subdivision as shown by the last general assessment; and 
the total indebtedness of the Territory at any one time shall not ex-
ceed 7 per cent of assessed valuation; nor shall the total indebt-
edness of any such subdivision of the Territory at any one time 
exceed 3 per cent of any such assessed valuation.   However, the 
Government is not prevented from refunding existing indebtedness 
at any time. 6. No loans are to be made upon the public domain, and 
no bonds or other instruments of indebtedness are to be issued unless 
redeemable in five years and payable in fifteen years. 7. No 
retrospective laws are to be passed. 8. No legislative divorces can be 
granted. The legislature is expressly given power to create county, 
town, and city municipalities and to provide for the government 
Of the various offices, officers, and boards which this bill provides 
for, that of commissioner of public lands has attracted most 
attention This bill provides that-
The laws of Hawaii relating to public lands, the settlement of boundaries, and 
the issuance of patents on land-commission awards, except as changed by this 
act, shall continue in force until Congress shall otherwise provide.
The public-land system of the Hawaiian Islands has been evolved

out of local conditions and is peculiar to them.   After careful con-
sideration it has not been thought advisable to attempt to extend our 
public-land system as it exists here, so as to include Hawaii. In some 
respects such extension would be absolutely impossible. Under the 
constitutional provision in that behalf Congress has from time to 
time made laws "respecting the territory or other property 
belonging to the United States." At the outset the original thirteen 
States contained 218,721,280 acres; by the definitive treaty of peace 
with Great Britain in 1783 our territorial extent was increased to 
531,200,000 acres; in 1803, by the Louisiana purchase, we obtained 
756,961,280 acres; by the Florida cession in 1819 we obtained a 
further tract of 37,931,520 acres; by the annexation of Texas in 1845 
we obtained 175,587,840 acres; in 1850 we purchased of Mexico 
334.443,520 acres; in 1850 the Federal Government bought of Texas 
65,130,880 acres; in 1853 we bought of Mexico 29,142,400 acres; in 
1867 we bought of Russia Alaska, containing 369,529,600 acres, and by 
the joint resolution of 1898 we annexed Hawaii, containing in all 
4,313,600 acres, of which 1,720,055 acres are public domain. The 
greater portion of lands which we have so acquired were 
unoccupied except by Indian tribes, whose Indian titles have been 
extinguished.   In many cases, also, we acquired these lands subject to 
previous grants, which were protected by treaty stipulations in the 
treaty of acquisition. Up to 1812 the Secretary of the Treasury had 
supervision of the sale of public lands; then the Land Office was 
established as a separate Bureau of the Treasury Department, and in 
1846 the Interior Department was organized and the Land Office was 
transferred to that Department.   The Land Office is charged with the 
survey and disposal of the public lands. The system of survey is the 
rectangular system established in 1785 by. a Congressional 
committee, of which Jefferson was chairman, by which base lines and 
meridian lines are first determined and townships 6 miles square are 
laid out and numbered north and south from base lines and ranges 
are laid out and numbered east and west from meridian lines. 
Obviously, our laws as to public lands are not applicable to 
Hawaii.   Our lines of survey have generally been run over new 
country, like lines upon clean paper.   Then settlers have filled up the 
lines.   The exceptions to this have not been difficult to deal with.
.   In Hawaii, however, the lands are already occupied, and, from the 
very nature of the soil and the character of the inhabitants, are cut 
up into holdings of all shapes and sizes; the shape being generally 
that of. an irregular triangle, with its base on the coast line and its 
apex toward the center of the island. There has already been 
established there a system of survey adapted to the natural 
formation and contour of the islands. For illustration, all the 
islands rise from the sea level, in some parts abruptly and in some 
parts gradually, to a central elevation, and for purposes of cultivation 
the land is naturally divided into lowland, fitted for the growth of 
taro and rice; next above this is sugar land, next coffee land, and 
then comes grazing and timber land. It is obvious that it would be 
impossible to overlay this system which has been long in practice 
and under which the land is occupied with an arbitrary rectangular 
system. As to the history and manner of disposal of public lands in 
Hawaii: 1. Up to 1846 all the lands of the Hawaiian Islands 
belonged in legal contemplation to the king. The chiefs and the 
people, under a feudel system closely resembling the old English 
feudel system, held their respective parcels by rendering service or 
payment of rent. 2. In 1846 King Kamehameha III granted:  (1) To 
his chiefs and people certain portions;   (2) for government purposes 
certain portions, (3) and reserved the remainder. 3. By an act, June 
7, 1848, the legislature accepted the king's grant and confirmed to 
the king, his heirs and successors, certain described lands which were 
thenceforth known as crown lands. Under an act organizing 
executive departments, a land commission was provided whose duty 
it was to receive and pass upon the claims of occupants and lands to 
their respective holdings in that portion of the land set apart for the 
chiefs and people.   This commission heard the testimony of 
claimants, caused surveys to be made, and issued to the occupants 
entitled thereto certificates called "Land commission awards."   These 
awards established the right of the grantee to the possession of the 
land and entitled him upon payment of one-fourth of the value of the 
bare land to receive a royal patent.   These awards and patents issued 
pursuant thereto are the source of all title to all lands not public 
lands or crown lands. By an act of July 9, 1850, one-twentieth of all 
public lands are

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