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Hawaii Organic Act: Congressional debates on Hawaii Organic Act

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responsibility for the care of the helpless is perhaps more pressing 
than in many other communities, and it certainly would seem to be 
unwise to provide by statute that organizations established for such 
purposes should be restricted in the amount of the means which 
may be provided for their maintenance. Mr. McRAE.   Just a word. 
The CHAIRMAN.   The time of the gentleman from Michigan has 
expired.                          ' Mr. McRAE.   I am as much in favor -- 
The CHAIRMAN.   The gentleman from Nevada [Mr. NEW-LANDS] 
is recognized. Mr. ROBINSON of Indiana.   I ask that the 
gentleman's time be extended for five minutes. The CHAIRMAN.   
The gentleman from Indiana asks that the time of the gentleman from 
Michigan be extended five minutes. Mr. ROBINSON of Indiana.   
The time of the gentleman from Indiana. The CHAIRMAN.   Is there 
objection? There was no objection. Mr. McRAE.   It will only take a 
moment to say what I want to say.   I am as much in favor of 
missionary work and charitable institutions as anyone can be. I
believe firmly in the Christian religion, but I want it kept separate 
from governmental affairs - The CHAIRMAN.   The Chair will 
say that he understood that it was the time of the gentleman from 
Michigan which was extended. Mr. McRAE.   I understood the 
gentleman to yield to me. Mr. HAMILTON.   I have no time to 
yield, as I understand. The CHAIRMAN.   Then the gentleman 
from Nevada  [Mr. NEWLANDS] is recognized. Mr. McRAE.   I hope I 
may be permitted to finish my sentence. Mr. NEWLANDS.   I yield 
to the gentleman from Arkansas one minute. Mr. McRAE.   I 
thought the gentleman from Michigan had five minutes given to him 
by the committee and that he yielded to me. Mr. HAMILTON.   Very 
well.   Let the gentleman from Arkansas conclude. The CHAIRMAN.    
It is not in order for gentlemen under the five-minute rule to yield 
time. Mr. ROBINSON of Indiana.   What becomes of my request for 
unanimous consent, that was granted? The CHAIRMAN.   The 
Chair understood the request of the gentleman from Indiana to be 
that the time of the gentleman from Michigan [Mr. HAMILTON! be 
extended. Mr. ROBINSON of Indiana.   No; the gentleman from 
Arkansas. The CHAIRMAN.   That was the error of the Chair, then.   
For the purpose of bringing the matter back to its proper place -- 
Mr. CANNON.   Will the gentleman from Michigan allow me to 
ask him a question?       . The CHAIRMAN.   The gentleman from 
Nevada [Mr. NEW-LANDS! is now recognized and has the floor. Mr. 
NEWLANDS.   I will yield one minute to the gentleman from 
Arkansas [Mr. McRAE] . Mr. McRAE.   I want to say that while I 
am in favor of religions and charitable institutions, and while I am a 
firm believer in the Christian religion and all proper missionary 
work, I do not believe it is right for those who entertain the same 
opinions to tax those who do not agree with us for the support of 
such institutions or to exempt large estates held by them to be 
relieved from all taxes.   If you want to teach the people of 
Hawaii the fundamental principles of government, you must divorce 
religion and government.   Missionaries must understand that their 
work should be confined to spiritual matters and not to acquiring 
large estates and hold them free of taxes for the support of the 
Government.                The statement of the gentleman from Michigan 
shows large accumulations of money, running up into the millions 
already.   The complaint that these poor people make to-day is against 
the questionable methods of some missionaries who went to the 
country for the alleged purpose of benefiting them spiritually, but 
who took advantage of their ignorance to get title to their lands. 
Many of those people claim that they have been robbed and mis 
treated by alleged missionaries, and now you propose to exempt the 
estates thus acquired from taxes and thus enable these people to 
accumulate great fortunes without any limitation.   If they own 
more property than is absolutely necessary for use as churches and 
charitable institutions, the excess should be taxed; but such 
concerns should not own more. Mr. NEWLANDS.   Mr. Chairman, I 
concur with the gentleman from Arkansas [Mr. McRAE] in his 
amendment, the purpose of which, as I understand it, is to prevent 
these charitable and religious associations from holding real 
estate in excess of the value of $50,000.   That limitation is the one 
which is now contained in the general law of the United States 
regarding Territories, which this Territorial act seeks to repeal so far 
as Hawaii is concerned. Mr. SNODGRASS.   Will the gentleman 
yield for a question? Mr. NEWLANDS.   Let me finish this sentence, 
please.

Section 1890 of the Revised Statutes provides that existing vested rights 
in real estate shall not be impaired by the provisions of this section. 
Mr. HITT.   At what date was that act passed? Mr. NEWLANDS.   
It is section 1890 of the Revised Statutes. Mr. HITT.   That applies 
to institutions in existence the day that act was approved. Mr. 
SNODGRASS.   I should like to ask the gentleman upon what 
principle vested rights are protected unless the Constitution is 
there?   If we have absolute power to act and legislate for those 
islands, what principle protects vested rights? Mr. NEWLANDS.   
Well, so far as I am concerned, I am not one of these who believe in 
the theory that the Constitution does not apply to the Territory of 
Hawaii. Whether it applies or not, I imagine that the disposition of 
Congress would be to protect vested rights; and if, as the gentleman 
from Illinois [Mr. HITT] intimates, only those vested rights existing 
at the time of the enactment of this section 1890 of the Revised 
Statutes are recognized, we can certainly insert a provision in this 
bill which will recognize vested rights now existing. Mr. KNOX.   
Will the gentleman allow me to ask him a question? Mr. 
NEWLANDS.   What I do wish to reach - I have only a few minutes, 
and then I will answer questions - what I do wish to meet is the 
tendency toward laud monopoly in these new possessions that have 
been acquired, and we ought to meet it with reference to Hawaii, we 
ought to meet it with reference to Puerto Rico, and if we are ever 
called upon to legislate in regard to the Philippines we ought to meet 
it with reference to those islands at the very threshold of legislation.   
The insurrection in the Philippine Islands was not so much a protest 
against Spain and is not to-day so much a protest against the United 
States as it is against a system of land monopoly which has grown up. 
The CHAIRMAN.   The time of the gentleman has expired. Mr. 
NEWLANDS.   I ask an extension of five minutes. The 
CHAIRMAN.   The gentleman asks unanimous consent that his 
time be extended five minutes.   Is there objection?   [After a pause.]   
The Chair hears none. Mr. KNOX.   Now, may I ask the gentleman a 
question? Mr. NEWLANDS.   It is a protest against a system of 
land monopoly that has grown up in the Philippine Islands, of 
which the religious organizations of  those islands are the 
beneficiaries. Now, that is a question as old as time; and if we look 
at the economic causes of most of the wars that have visited the 
world, we will find at the bottom of almost every war a protest 
against the monopoly of land.   It led to the French Revolution.   The 
land of France prior to the revolution was held one-third by the 
nobility, one-third by the church, and the other, and the poorer 
third, was held by the masses of the people, and the taxes were all 
imposed on the poorer third.   That it was that led to the revolution 
of blood and carnival of destruction.   Puerto Rico to-day is one of 
the most thickly inhabited islands in the world - a million of people 
occupying an inland 100 miles long and 40 miles wide. The holdings 
of the land in that island to-day are comparatively small; but freer 
trade with the United States and the commercial advantage gained 
by access to our markets will give a great advance to the value of 
those lands, and we will see a gradual centralization and 
concentration of ownership in the hands of a few, unless we restrain 
it now.   If we do not guard it by legislation, we will have 900,000 or 
a million people on those islands without a foot of land which they 
can call their own, all of them serfs attached to the soil, subject to the 
control of the landlords. The reason why the war in the Philippines 
is being waged today is that vast tracts of land are held by the 
religions organizations of Luzon, in whose hands they have been 
gradually concentrated, and the Filipinos, though devoted to the 
church, have been in repeated revolts against this system and have 
demanded its reform.   They are at war with the United States 
largely because they believe that our Government will maintain and 
protect this monopoly, and their resistance would be greatly dimin-
ished and the islands would be speedily pacified if an assurance were to-
day given that efforts would be made to relax that land monopoly, not 
by confiscation of the land, as the Filipinos themselves intended to do, 
and as has been accomplished in almost every Latin country - in all 
the South American Republics, all the Central American Republics, 
in Mexico, and in Italy itself - but by a condemnation of those lands 
to public use, through a judicial tribunal organized for that purpose, 
adequate compensation to the owners being assured, by issuing 
bonds at a low rate of interest and for a long period of time for their 
payment, the lands to be thrown open to the Filipinos in small 
tracts, to be paid for on long time and at low rates of interest.   This 
is the economic cause of this war, and the best way of pacifying 
those islands is to meet, in our legislation here, conditions of land 
monopoly that exist there by wise action regarding it. Now, so far as 
the Hawaiian Islands are concerned, the tendency there is toward 
land monopoly.   The tendency always is to employ in these 
semitropical countries either slave labor or

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