to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Honolulu, April 10, 1882. (Received April 25.)
Sir: Referring to your No. 114, and to my No. 209, I have the honor now to present my report as much in detail as seems to be practicable.
The figures as to unoccupied available lands for sugar and rice promised me by a merchant who was formerly editor of a newspaper and afterward in the government service (vide No. 209) have not been forthcoming, though I have exerted myself to the utmost to obtain them. I must say that there does not seem to be any special alacrity to make an exhibit of the quantity of available sugar lands still unoccupied. Such facts as I have been able to gather will appear further along.
With this explanation I take up the consideration of some matters and questions affecting the future of the Sandwich Islands.
I. The aboriginal native race is not only in its decline, but the immigrant population is rapidly on the rise. The decadence of the native race is not only in its numbers, but in every component of strength known in the constituent elements of the state or commonwealth. Out of a population of about 45,000 natives of aboriginal descent, all told, there are over 700 who are condemned and isolated lepers, at the leper settlement on Molokai.
Physicians of the highest standing estimate that there are from 3,000 to 5,000 concealed lepers in the islands. The government physician at the free dispensary in Honolulu, Dr. Fitch, reports officially—and the figures are given in the philo-Hawaiian Pacific Commercial Advertiser of Mr. Gibson, for Saturday, April 8, two days ago—that out of 4,055 new cases treated by him for the first quarter of 1882, 2,748 were syphilis and 508 leprosy diseases, not only incurable but unavoidably transmissible by heredity as well as by contagion and infection. In the same report are 51 more cases of other venereal diseases, making the frightful total of 3,307 persons afflicted with diseases of this class, out of 4,055 cases treated, leaving only 748 for all other diseases, even such as coughs, colds, &c. This is the report of a government physician, where the law requires that lepers be isolated and sent to Molokai, yet there are 508 lepers open applicants for relief, in one quarter’s time, in the single district of Honolulu. Dr. Fitch says further: “The disease is everywhere among us: members of the police, soldiers, the band, pastors of churches, teachers, students, are all among the sufferers.” He says further, in the same report, that at a recent meeting of physicians in Honolulu, one of the oldest and most favorably known physicians of the islands stated his belief that four-fifths of the native population of the islands are infected with syphilis, and Dr. Fitch says “I believe this statement too mild.”[Page 335]
The report is not officially promulgated yet. I will ask to forward copies hereafter, as part of the inclosures herewith.
To these terrible antecedents must be added constantly increasing sterility and impotency, and in a large degree more and more foggy perceptions in sexual morals. The physique is, therefore, from all these causes, deteriorating frightfully, and the morale is falling still lower. The robust race of the ancient Kanaka has shriveled and dwindled to this melancholy handful, some of whom are still of noble physique and all of whom are of amiable character, but too many of whom are crippled by rheumatism, syphilis, paralysis, or leprosy. They are crippled, alike in person, in morals, and in fortune—in mind, body, and estate. Where sugar and rice planting are the chief industries, there is, I am assured, not one Kanaka of pure blood in all the islands who owns or exclusively operates a plantation. Some serve faithfully as contract laborers for foreign proprietors, and some put in small lots on shares, but they do not own or operate the plantation. The town-bred natives of the lower class are too unstable for any systematic work, and cannot be depended upon. There is no mercantile or manufacturing business in the kingdom that is owned and managed by a native of full blood. On the other hand, Americans, English, Germans, or more largely still, Hawaiian-Americans and Englishmen (or to use a better-understood term not in vogue here, Creoles), own and operate the sugar plantations. Rice is almost exclusively in the hands of the Chinese. Cattle ranches are largely operated by Portuguese. And the thousand and one little shops, bakeries, restuarants, and the like, are in the hands of Chinese, Portuguese, and other foreigners.
The Chinese already constitute more than half the adult male population of the kingdom. The Portuguese are increasing rapidly. American capital is increasing much more rapidly than American population. All these hungry hordes of foreigners bring with them habits of industry and thrift, to which the poor Kanaka is nearly a stranger, and he is rapidly going to the wall, clutching wildly at every straw for national life.
South Sea Islanders, not only of lower type than the Hawaiian, but savage and lawless, and without either the noble physique or the amiable character of the ancient Kanaka, have been brought, at great expense, to transfuse the blood of a so-called cognate race into the dying Kanaka people; and the result has been failure. As fast as their contracts expire they prefer to return to the low cocoa-nut islands. Even if successful, the experiment must have resulted in lowering the type of the Kanaka by the infusion of an inferior race. Large expense has been incurred, also, in bringing Portuguese, Norwegians, and others, as laborers and as population; but this mostly results in simple substitution of the alien for the Kanaka race—a result which does not greatly delay the ultimate absorption of the native race into a new fusion of different nationalities of more or less contradictory character and habitat originally.
It is not alone that the commoners of the race are disappearing at the rate of one and a half per cent, per annum; it is even worse with the “chiefs.” The “House of Nobles” is created by the sovereign, and is not necessarily of “chief” blood—I do not refer to it. Nearly half of the members of the “House of Nobles” are whites or half-castes. But the natives are still of feudal temper, and their attachment to the native aliis or chiefs is deep and abiding, incapable of transfer or substitution. The constitution requires that the sovereign shall be of the native alii or “high chief” blood. Of all the royal family and collateral there is but [Page 336] one frail little girl, half-white daughter of Princess Likelike, to represent the second generation. Queen Douager Emma is childless. Queen Kapiolaui has no children. The Princess Luka (Ruth), sister of the late Kamehamehas, has no heir of her body to her name or her large estate. Mrs. Panaki Bishop, daughter of old chief Paki, has never had a child, and has once refused the nomination to the succession. Unless the genealogical tables of the kingdom shall be reformed and enlarged, there is no other family left eligible to the throne. One life alone in the next generation, the little half-white girl constitutes the reserve of high-chief blood to draw from, and even that is not accepted by the body of the natives. They do not recognize the Kalakaua family as true high chief blood. The distinction is made painfully apparent when any of the present royal family are brought in contact publicly with Queen Emma or Princess Luka.
With the native race rapidly disappearing, and the high-chief blood nearly exhausted, with already a majority of the adult males in the kingdom of alien races; with a constitution resting upon a moribund constituency, and relying for functional life upon nearly defunct agencies, what future is there for the native race and the existing dynasty of the Sandwich Islands.
As part of an American Zollverein, part of our productive and commercial system, the problem of replenishment of the vital forces of Hawaii demands consideration of us. If we will not have it drift away into Asiatic possession, and an oriental civilization, or have it drawn into a British protectorate through the introduction of East Indian coolies, the wards of Great Britain, we must be watchful.
Leaving out of account every consideration except the good of the Hawaiian Islands, our own American colored race can supply a more desirable population, without drawing too heavily upon our resources, than any of these other races or peoples now in prospect.
II. There are, strictly speaking, no government lands suitable for homesteads or small holdings. There are no homestead lasws. Lands to till “on shares,” or small quantities for rent, may be had, and planters with mills are glad to encourage independent production in this way. But, in this as in other countries, sugar-planting is a business requiring large capital. It is one of the disabilities of the native, that he seldom or never has capital enough to carry on a plantation. To remove this disability, native statesmen in the legislative assembly have made grotesque efforts, which would be ludicrous if they were not pathetic. In order to put the native on an equality with the Haole in this respect, it was gravely proposed in the last legislative assembly to make an impossible loan of ten million dollars, a great part of the proceeds of which were to have been disposed of by government in helping poor Kanakas, (“who could not get money at Bishop’s Bank” having no security to offer) to buy lands and machinery, and become rich planters at a bound, by act of the legislative assembly and use of the public credit. One Hoapili Baker, in 1880, issued a manifesto full of such absurdities, a copy of which was inclosed with my dispatch No. 104, April 10, 1880. This manifesto, so ridiculed before the election, made its reputed author a legislator, and it was soon found that the real author had a party behind him which came near wrecking the kingdom with disastrous projects threatening practical confiscation of American and other foreign capital invested here. The same author has again put forth a manifesto, before the late election, fathered this time by a statesman named Lilikalaui, and subscribed by Walter Murray Gibson and others, elected afterward to the next legislative assembly, called to meet on the 29th [Page 337] instant. I inclose three copies separate, as printed matter. The absurdity of this document should not mislead anybody as to its mischievous and dangerous power over the native mind clothed with legislative functions. I only state the prevailing public opinion among intelligent foreigners here, when I state that the firm and prudent action of the resident diplomatic body alone saved the country from bloodshed and probable revolution, during the Moreuo regime, in 1880, when the Hoapili manifesto was sought to be put in action. Like trouble is expected at the coming session for 1882, as indicated by the Lilikalaui manifesto The King and all natives long with a desperate longing for a complete Kanaka ascendency, and they do not see any better way to accomplish this than through legislation practically charging foreign capital with the support of not only the government but the people as well.
III. The question how much available sugar and rice land is still unoccupied, and how much further expansion may be expected in the productive industries of the islands, is one upon which I have found it difficult to obtain data, as already before stated.
It will appear from the inclosures that I early applied to the foreign office without success; that I was promised reliable data from private sources, which have not been forthcoming; finally, on the 18th of March, The Pacific Commercial Advertiser published statistics purporting to come from the minister of the interior (inclosure No. 2), and a tabular statement of unoccupied lands made up in 1872 (inclosure No. 3), with interesting comments by the editor, Mr. Walter Murray Gibson (inclosure No. 4), which seemed to cover the points desired. I thereupon addressed the minister of foreign affairs, requesting to know how far these statistics might be taken as reliable (inclosure No. 5), and received his reply, discrediting them almost wholly (inclosure No. 6).
I forward all these without further comment; also, separate, as printed matter, three copies of the Commercial Advertiser, of March 25, and one unmutilated copy of March 18, the date from which above clippings are made, sending these simply as possible objects of curiosity to the Secretary of State, and not as regular exhibits for this dispatch.
I have, &c.,