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 ]

2325
continue in the trade.   If they fail to get American registers they 
are wiped out of that trade, there are so many vessels displaced, 
and that makes the scarcity of vessels still greater. 
Mr. SPOONER.   Will the Senator from Minnesota allow me to 
ask him a question? 
Mr. NELSON.   Certainly. 
Mr. SPOONER.   Are these vessels which would have received 
American registers in any event, or under any circumstances, but 
for the Hawaiian annexation resolution? 
Mr. NELSON.   How? 
Mr. SPOONER.   Are these vessels which could have been ad- 
mitted or which would have been admitted by Congress to Ameri- 
can registers  had it not been for the  Hawaiian  annexation 
resolution? 
Mr. NELSON.   They could not have been admitted under our 
laws, but they were entitled to admission under the Hawaiian 
laws. 
Mr. SPOONER.   Then they come in under cover of the Ha- 
waiian annexation or the action of the government there? 
Mr. NELSON.   They come in just as vessels come in that were 
admitted to Hawaiian registry before annexation.   Under their 
laws foreign-built vessels could be admitted to Hawaiian register. 
Mr. BACON.   These are vessels which have not been admitted? 
Mr. NELSON.   They have been admitted to Hawaiian registry, 
but not to ours. 
Mr. BACON.   All of them? 
Mr. NELSON.   They are vessels which have been admitted to 
Hawaiian registry.   If Hawaii were a republic to-day, an inde- 
pendent government as it was before, they would be Hawaiian 
vessels and entitled to consideration as such. 
Mr. CHILTON.   Does the Attorney-General hold that the regis- 
tration is valid. 
Mr. NELSON.   The Attorney-General, in his recent opinion, 
held otherwise, but the supreme court of Hawaii, in a case that 
came up involving this question, decided that they had a right to 
license them, and that that system continued until Congress passed 
legislation. 
Mr. CULLOM.   If the Senator will allow me, this provision of 
the bill reads as follows: 
That all vessels carrying Hawaiian registers, on the 12th day of August, 
1898, shall be entitled to be registered as American vessels, with the benefits 
and privileges appertaining thereto.
Mr. BACON.   Why do we not stand on that? 
Mr. CULLOM.   I supposed when the Senator called my atten- 
tion to the amendment that there was a little pride of feeling on 
the part of the owners that this list should be named, as it cov- 
ered, as was stated to me, all vessels that were to be benefited, and 
that they desired the names of the vessels specifically stated in 
the bill.   Supposing that was all there was to it, I consented to 
let it take the place of the section as I have read it. 
Mr. PETTIGREW.   That is not the situation, I think.   These 
vessels are vessels that would be shut out by the bill as it stands, 
because they received Hawaiian registers after annexation, and 
our Attorney-General decided that they could not grant such reg- 
isters.   Therefore they will be shut out from American registers 
unless they are named or some later date fixed in the bill. 
Now, there are ten more that have applied over there.   Perhaps 
they have issued registers to the other ten.   How do we know? 
Why have they not an equitable case?   If we bring in these seven, 
four of which were admitted to Hawaiian register previous to 
January, 1899, and the rest of which have been admitted since, 
why have they not an equitable case, and can they not come here 
and almost compel us to give registers to the whole flock?   How 
many more will be registered when they find out what we have 
been doing? 
Mr. CULLOM.   I am inclined to stand on the original section 
in view of the developments here. 
Mr. PETTIGREW.   I hope the Senator will. 
Mr. CULLOM.   I withdraw the amendment, if I may be allowed 
to do so. 
Mr. TELLER.   I should like to ask somebody who knows what 
will become of these vessels?   Where did they come from?   Where 
were they registered?   What flag were they flying before they 
were registered? 
Mr. FRYE.   They will be obliged to go into business somewhere 
else.   I found that they were registering ships in the Hawaiian 
Islands m order to get them under the American flag when 
Hawaii should be admitted.   I wrote to the president and called 
his attention to it and to a decision of the court in the Hawaiian 
Islands, which held that they had the right to register these ves- 
sels.   I think notice was given to the authorities in the Hawaiian 
Islands that they could not admit any more of those vessels to 
Hawaiian register.   Therefore Hawaii stopped admitting them to 
Hawaiian register. 
Now, between the date fixed in the bill, 1898, and the time that 
that proclamation was issued or that conclusion was arrived at

there were four or five or six vessels that had been admitted to 
Hawaiian registers under the authority of the court of the Ha- 
waiian Islands, and our committee concluded, that being the case 
and they being vessels engaged in the sugar trade and peculiarly 
fitted for it and new vessels, that it was just as well to extend 
this provision to them.   Indeed, there was no really good reason 
given why it should not be extended to them.   I think the vessels 
that the Senator from South Dakota is talking about are vessels 
that never have been admitted to Hawaiian register. 
Mr. PETTIGREW.   I will state that 1 gave the names of seven 
or eight vessels that had been admitted, and there are nine or tan 
others that have applied for admission.   I will say further that 
previous to the passage of the resolution annexing Hawaii the law 
of Hawaii required that a vessel should be owned by a citizen of 
Hawaii in order to get a Hawaiian register, and the Southern 
Pacific Railroad took, for instance, the China, one of the largest 
ships in their whole line, down there and made a bill of sale to an 
impecunious Hawaiian; and under that bill of sale to a man who 
could not buy one of the bolts in the ship, and everybody knew it, 
the vessel was admitted to Hawaiian register.   The supreme court, 
which has been so much boasted of here, great lawyers that they 
are, decided, in the face of these facts, knowing that this fellow  
could not buy a fraction of the ship, that it was valid and that 
the vessel could be admitted as a vessel which was owned by this 
Hawaiian.   It was Huntington's ship.   They not only admitted 
this, but three or four more vessels, because they felt that annexa- 
tion was a sure thing and when they came in they would get 
American registers, which would be worth thousands of dollars to 
foreign-built vessels. 
Since annexation these sugar planters have admitted six or seven 
more vessels to Hawaiian registry, and now they want the Con- 
gress of the United States to ratify that.   The supreme court over 
there has already.   Our Attorney-General has said that it is not 
valid; and there are nine or ten more that have applied.   Who 
knows but what they have got Hawaiian registers by this time, 
and next winter they will be in here for American registers.   Of 
course it is a valuable concession.   It is a valuable franchise.   I 
can not, for my part, see any justice in admitting any of them. 
Mr. FRYE.   There is rather an interesting incident connected 
with the admission of the China, which, as the Senator from South 
Dakota says, was one of the largest ships in the service and one of 
the best.   The Government was in great distress  -  -  
Mr. PETTIGREW.   I understand that.   We gave it a register. 
Mr. FRYE.   The Government was in great distress for vessels. 
The supply seemed to have come to an end, and the Secretary of 
War sent for me one day and wished to know, I having had some- 
thing to do with ships, whether there was any possibility of their 
finding any more ships anywhere.   I asked him what he had done 
with the Pacific Mail; if he had taken any of their ships.   I told 
him that there was the China, which I understood had been ad- 
mitted to Hawaiian register, which could carry more troops than 
any other vessel that they had found anywhere. 
The Secretary of War said they had been trying to find Hunt- 
ington; that nobody else in the Pacific Mail Company seemed 
to have any authority to give consent.   They had been trying to 
find him in order to get this ship.   I ascertained that he was on a 
train somewhere between New York and California, and they 
finally reached him by a telegram on the train.   He telegraphed 
back yes: that the Government could have anything he had that 
was required for service in the war, and that the Government 
could adjust the prices to suit themselves. 
Mr. PETTIGREW.   I should like to ask just one question. 
Did he not make as a condition the admission of the China to an 
American register? 
Mr. FRYE.   No.   She had been admitted to Hawaiian register. 
Mr. PETTIGREW.   I know; but we had to admit her.   We 
passed an act of Congress admitting her to American registry, 
and he made that a condition. 
Mr. FRYE.   No; he did not make it as a condition. 
Mr. PETTIGREW.   Why did we do it. then? 
Mr. FRYE.   Because the Secretary of War wanted her admitted 
to American registry so that she could fly the American flag wher- 
ever she went. 
Mr. PETTIGREW.   We admitted her to American registry. 
We passed an act of Congress to do it. 
Mr. FRYE.   We reported in favor of admitting her. 
Mr. PETTIGREW.   I am glad he had patriotism enough not to 
impose that as a condition, and I am very much pleased with the 
philanthropic generosity of the committee, which granted such a 
privilege without it being asked for. 
Mr. TELLER.   I have been one of those who for many years 
have insisted that the ships flying our flag should be built in this 
country, but gradually I have seen from time to time Congress 
admit to registry, under some pretense or another, ships not built 
in this country.   I have seen the carrying trade passing out of the

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