No. 388.
Mr. Comly to Mr. Evarts.

No. 117.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit certain documents prepared by Rev. Hiram Bingham, on behalf of the board of the Hawaiian Evangelical Association, after verbal consultation with me. The papers present the whole case clearly.

The German consul named in the papers is reported to be guilty of another outrage against the simple people of the islands. He sold goods to the natives, and got them in debt to him. He then demanded payment of these debts by the community, one whole island. The islanders not being able to comply with his demands, he fined them 200,000 pounds of copra, an amount more than the total production of the island. [Page 615] As it was impossible to pay this, he took possession of certain lands and harbors in the name of the German Government.

There are outrages going on constantly in the Southern Pacific which ought to receive attention, but it seems difficult to reach them with a remedy. It might be worth while for the United States to send a commissioner—some minister already in commission might go, with an allowance for expenses—to visit these islands with a man-of-war, and establish their status internationally, for their protection.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 117.]

Mr. Bingham to Mr. Comly.

Sir: Inclosed you will find copies of certain documents which were forwarded to us from Jaluit by a Mr. J. L. Young, and which were considered by the board of the Hawaiian Evangelical Association at a late meeting.

After such consideration I was instructed by that board to confer with you, the United States minister resident, and secure, if possible, assurances from you that the United States Government will not interfere to protect any United States citizen who may violate the ordinance of the ruling chief of the Ralik group for the suppression of the sale, or supplying in any way, of any intoxicating liquors of any kind to any native of the Ralik group, or to any native of any other island in the ocean who is not a subject or citizen of some civilized power.

A copy of this ordinance will be found among the inclosures.

Trusting that your interest in the welfare of the various tribes of the Pacific will lead you to give this subject the attention which it justly claims, and to so represent it to the government which you represent as to secure from it the desired assurances,

I have, &c.,

Corresponding Secretary pro tem., of Board of Hawaiian Evangelical Association.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 117.—Translation.]

Chief of Ralik group to United States consul, Honolulu.

Sir: Herewith I beg to forward you a copy of an ordinance which I have been compelled to establish on these islands in order to save my people from their drinking of intoxicating liquors.

I do not desire to make any laws affecting foreigners, but only to prevent my own people obtaining liquor.

I would therefore request that you will afford me your assistance in my endeavors, by causing citizens of the United States in these islands to conform to this ordinance.

I wish to say that an American citizen, one Thomas Tilton (colored), has established a liquor store on this island, and is one of the principal causes of the increase in the drinking of liquor by my people.

Trusting that you will lend me your assistance in my efforts for the good of my people,

Ruling Chief Ralik Group, Marshall Islands.

I agree and witness:

[Page 616]
[Inclosure 3 in No. 117.]

Mr. Young to Rev. Mr. Bingham.

Sir: Knowing the interest you feel in these islands with their people, allow me to hand you herewith copies of the ordinance which the ruling chief here, Lebon, has just issued with the assistance and approval of the second chief, Loeak.

The drinking of liquor is increasing so fast here among the young people, and even women, that it is high time that an effort was made to put a stop to it; but I fear that the chiefs will not have energy or determination enough to carry out their present desires, which are to prevent natives obtaining liquor entirely. The chiefs have written, as you will see, to the United States consul in Honolulu, and will also write to the British consul in Samoa, and the German consul-general in the latter place, requesting their assistance. The acting German consul here will not assist, as he himself is a member of the firm that sells the liquor upon which the natives get drunk.

Yours, in haste,

[Inclosure 4 in No. 117—Translation.]

Ordinance respecting sale of liquor.

Because of my knowledge that intoxicating liquor is destroying my people on these islands, and because I wish to take care of and keep back all my people from death and from evil, I, Lebon (Kabua), the supreme chief of the Ralik group, do hereby now make known this ordinance:

It shall be unlawful for any foreigner in the Ralik group to sell, or supply in any way, any intoxicating liquors of any kind to any native of the Ralik group, or to any native of any other island in the ocean who is not a subject of some civilized power.
If any foreigner shall break this ordinance, he shall suffer loss as follows: if he breaks the law once he shall pay $100 in cash to me, or if a second time he shall leave these islands forever.
This ordinance shall come in force from and after the 6th day of May, 1880.


I agree with and witness:

I, Loeak.