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 ]

2321
warmed up and very much angered toward the luna.   If he had told them, 
through the interpreter, what he wanted, instead of abusing one or two of 
their number, it would have been different.   It was no use making any com- 
plaint to the manager, for he took no notice of them.   They understood that 
they were to work on the plantation for three years under contract, and were 
willing to do so to the best of their ability, if properly treated.   They did 
not appear to have any serious grievance against the other lunas. 
Since the rioting they claim that they have been treated a little better, 
yet there is room for much improvement.   They claim that to be arrested 
for not working quick enough is a hardship, and at the same time they lose 
their money.   The men receive $12.50 a month; but out of this, $1.50 is remit- 
ted to the board of immigration toward paying the laborer's return passage 
when he desires to return to China.   That leaves him $11; but there are very 
few that receive over $6 or $7, and some of them even less than that, on ac- 
count of the persistent docking, for what they are at loss to understand.   It 
would be of no use to say anything to the manager; he is always deaf to any 
of their complaints.   Their next complaint was with regard to the number 
of hours they have to work.   The contracts call for ten hours in the field. 
In this matter I find that the men are turned out earlier than they ought 
to be, and sometimes are a little late in being sent home.  I do not know what 
particular time is kept OH the plantation, but 1 am very much under the im- 
pression from what I gathered that the mill clock is one of a kind that moves 
quickly or slowly as required.   The men told me that since the fight the 
clock had changed.   Another piece of information they gave me was that 
the sheriff, through his own interpreter, told them that they could leave the 
plantation any time by paying $50 and go where they liked.   This is only 
partly true.   The sheriff has in his possession a letter from Manager Wolters 
stating that, as the men were a vicious and bad lot, he would like to release 
them.   But Mr. Wolters forgets that he has not the authority to do so; it 
can only be obtained from the board of immigration, and then on certain 
conditions. 
In regard to the docking of their wages, the men could not explain for 
what reason this was done, and certainly I got very little satisfaction from 
those in charge when I went into the matter.   Sometimes a man feels sick 
when he gets up and, like other people, wants to see a doctor.   He visits the 
doctor, who has probably quite a number to attend to.   Say he gets through 
with the doctor about 10 o'clock, gets medicine, and feels better.   If he goes  
in the field at noon to work the afternoon, the bookkeeper told me they do 
not pay the man for the afternoon.   Some explanation was afterwards made 
to me by the manager, but it was not entirely satisfactory.   The same may 
be said when I asked the question, "Do you dock the men's wages for work- 
ing slowly?"  The manager pays the men their wages, and I have asked him, 
in future to be very careful in his system of docking, and do it fairly.  If the 
men have a grievance as to their wages, let it be stated through the inter- 
preter.   The idea of pushing a laborer on one side for asking the reason his 
wages have been docked, without any explanation, is not right. 
Another complaint was that of a sick laborer who was recently returned to 
China; had seventeen days' pay coming to him which had not been paid.   As 
the bookkeeper was laid up sick at his home, he could not explain without 
looking at his books.   I have requested the matter to bo looked into when he 
is well, and reported to me. 
I next interviewed the luna, William Zoller.   This man has been on the 
Lihue plantation for several years.   He complains that the Chinese laborers 
are a tough and a bad lot, and hard to get along with.   On the morning of 
the riot he says that the Chinese started the riot by coming out armed with 
sticks under their clothes.   He did not say what caused them to come out 
armed.   On pressing him, he admitted that he had laid hands on laborers at 
different times. 
The manager also confirmed this latter statement.   I was also informed 
that Zoller has been seen to go behind Japanese laborers in the fields, lift 
them up by their heads, and drop them.   Lunas Wolters, Schmidt, and a Ger- 
man were questioned, but had very little to say.   They said they had had 
very little trouble with the men and did not think Zoller had.   I called on Dr. 
Watt, but as he had only been three weeks on the plantation, he could not 
say very much.   He was unable to say anything from personal experience. 
He was very careful in his examination of the laborers and would not send 
them out in the fields to work without he was fully satisfied as to their condi- 
tion. 
Kong Wa Chang, a Chinese storekeeper, stated that the Chinese laborers on 
the plantation were treated very badly and were always complaining to him. 
Meeting Mr. A. S. Wilcox on the last day of my visit, and asking what I 
was doing in Lihue, he said to me without being asked that he was very glad 
some one had come down to investigate; it was very necessary to inquire 
into the brutal treatment that had been going on on that plantation. 
Mr. George H. Fairchild, manager of the Makee Sugar Company, has a 
number of Chinese laborers who came at the same time and from the same 
place as those on Lihue.   He says he has had no trouble with them.   He does 
not allow his lunas to touch the men and is very strict in this matter. 
A lady well known in Lihue volunteered the statement that she was ready 
at any time to testify to the ill treatment the laborers received at the hands 
of the lunas. 
In my several conversations with the manager, Mr. Carl Wolters, he denied 
the truth of many of the statements made to me by the Chinese.   He said 
that while away a short time ago there was trouble on the plantation, and 
the head luna was really the cause of it.   About fifteen months ago the same 
luna had quite a row with the Japanese laborers.   I said, "Why don't you 
get rid of that head luna, seeing that ho is the cause of so much trouble?" 
and Mr. Wolters did not see how to answer me.   He does not like to have 
trouble with his men, and his orders are that the lunas must not abuse 
the men. 
I desire to state that after examining the laborers in the field I told them 
who I was; how I had been sent by the government to inquire into the 
trouble, and that Mr. Goo Kim Fui, their representative, knew I had come. 
I then, in brief, told them of the law under which they had come into the 
country; that at all times they were under the protection of the laws of 
Hawaii.   They must at all times obey the laws.   If they had any serious 
grievance, they must at once report it to Mr. Goo Kim.   They should never 
take the law in their own hands.   No good would come from that.   I told 
them it was certainly not the wish of the Hawaiian government to hear of 
them being ill-treated.   If at any time their wages were not correct, they 
should go to the manager with their interpreter.   They thanked me for com- 
ing and listening to their troubles, and hoped they would be treated better 
he future. 
I visited the laborers while in their quarters and also while they were 
away.   They did not make complaints, but really there is much room for 
improvement.   I told the manager they were living in too crowded a con- 
dition.   In one room, 15 by 20 feet, fourteen men were sleeping; in another, 
16 by 20, twenty men were living. 
If I may be allowed to review the above evidence and statement, I do not 
think there is any difficulty in coming to the conclusion that the trouble, 
which ended in serious rioting and the loss of life, was brought on by the 
harsh and, what I consider, cruel treatment the laborers have received at 
the hands of the head luna, William Zoller.   There is not a man on the plan-

tation that likes him or has any good word for him.   I am of the opinion that 
this man and the manager do not get along together and that the latter is 
afraid of Zoller.   If the manager's instructions to the lunas have been to 
keep their hands off the laborers, they have not been followed out, and the 
manager is open to the severest criticism. 
There is no way in which I can speak good of the Lihue plantation.   I have 
listened to no outside or street talk; I accepted no hospitality from anyone in 
Lihue; had my eyes and ears open all the time I was there, and am fully con- 
vinced, after careful consideration, that in order to prevent a repetition of 
the past William Zoller, the head luna, should at once be discharged from the 
plantation and that Manager Wolters should be reprimanded and held to 
strict account for the better treatment of the laborers in the future.   The 
docking of the laborers' wages should be done fairly, and their grievances 
should be given a hearing.   There are soon Rome Chinese to arrive for Lihue, 
and I think that something should be done before they are sent to the plan- 
tation. 
Respectfully submitted. 
WRAY TAYLOR. 
Secretary Bureau of Immigration. 
Capt. J. A. KINO, 
President Board of Immigration.
Mr. PETTIGREW.   I have another report dated June 19, 1897, 
of another plantation, and I think it is a fair sample of the whole 
miserable system.   This thing has been going on for the last two 
years, or for the last year and a half under our flag, and we have 
this evil there to-day. 
We were told when Hawaii was annexed that there would be a 
field for American laborers, but at the very moment of the an- 
nexation of the islands the Odd Fellows, the Masons, and every 
other organization there sent out warning to all the lodges in the 
United States, telling Americans not to go there, that there was 
no field for them. 
Here is a circular issued on the 25th of August, 1898.   We an- 
nexed Hawaii August 12, 1898, and on the 25th the Odd Fellows 
issued this circular:
A WARNING FROM HONOLULU!
HONOLULU, HAWAIIAN ISLANDS, August 25, 1898. 
To all Odd Fellows, greeting: 
The annexation of these islands by the United States has caused many 
brethren to project attempts to better their condition or to find employment 
in what they consider a new country. 
Such we consider it our duty to warn and to speak to in plain terms. 
The social and business communities of these islands were old and well 
established before the rush to California. 
This is in no sense a new country. 
The only opportunity here is for the man of large capital. 
There is no employment here for mechanics of any kind or for unskilled . 
labor.   Many men of ability, of good habits, and first-class recommendations 
are now here practically stranded.   There were idle men in Honolulu before 
the American flag replaced the Hawaiian flag. 
All lines of small business are fully filled, and in most cases overcrowded. 
Do not come here unless you have the assurance in advance of steady em- 
ployment, or have the capital to engage in land-development enterprises re- 
quiring large means. 
We spread this positive advice because we wish to save brethren disap- 
pointment and distress.   We state the facts, as in more than honor bound, 
and trust sincerely that this circular will accomplish its mission. 
This circular is issued by Excelsior Lodge, No. 1, I.O.O.F., Honolulu, Ha- 
waiian Islands.
The Masons issued a similar circular, as did the Knights of 
Pythias.   The fact is that no Americans have gone there and 
found employment.   Since that circular was issued, in which it 
is stated that there is no room for unskilled labor, they have im- 
ported to those islands 30,000 - yes, 37,000 - contract laborers from 
Asia and 7,000 have returned; so the net result of the importation 
is an increase of 30,000 contract laborers according to the state- 
ment I have already road. 
In regard to the Gallicians, who came there from Austria, one 
was arrested at Hilo.   He was brought before a magistrate, and 
he bared his arms and side and showed evidences of severe bruises, 
the result of the maltreatment and pounding of his overseer.   The 
magistrate sentenced him to go back to that labor under that 
overseer and to that slavery, and he refused to go.   He was then 
confined in the Hilo jail with common criminals.   He took the 
case to the supreme court of Hawaii.   In that case the court said:
The decisions rendered in the cases of Peacock & Co. vs. Republic of Hawaii 
(ante, page 27), Republic of Hawaii vs. Edwards (ante, page  - ), and Hawaiian 
Star Newspaper vs. Savior (ante, page - ) apply to these cases and practically 
determine the point that the provisions of the Constitution of the United 
States above cited are not in force hero during the present transition period. 
The defendants further claim that the prosecution should have been in the, 
name of the republic of Hawaii under section 3, article 92, constitution of the 
republic of Hawaii, which provides that "all criminal and penal proceedings 
arising or now depending within the limits of the Hawaiian Islands shall be 
prosecuted to final judgment and execution in the name of the republic of 
Hawaii.   *   *   *   The style of all processes shall be, 'The republic of Hawaii,' 
and all prosecutions shall be carried on in the name and by authority of the 
republic of Hawaii." 
We are of the opinion that this section does not apply to cases of this 
nature, and does not change the decision in the case of Coolidge vs. Puaaiki 
(3 Haw., 814), where it was held that suits of this character are, civil actions 
and should be so entitled; "and in no respect do they fall within the duties 
of the public prosecutor." 
The defendants are laborers brought from Austria under contract to servo 
the Honomu Sugar Company, whoso sugar plantation is situated in the dis- 
trict of Hilo, island of Hawaii.   Quitting their employment in September, 
1888, and before the expiration of the period of three years, which they hail 
contracted to serve, they were arrested upon warrants issued by the district 
magistrate of South Hilo and tried and convicted upon the charge of desert- 
ing their contracts of service.   Zeluch was sentenced to imprisonment at

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)  |  library@hawaii.edu