Foreign Relations of the United States, 1894, Appendix II, Affairs in Hawaii
Mr. Willisto Mr. Gresham.
Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, February 15, 1894.
Sir: At the regular meeting this afternoon of the Government councils, Hon. F. M. Hatch read the report of the judiciary committee on the petition for the enlargement of the advisory council, recommending, as reported in the newspapers, “that there be chosen delegates to sit with the councils and prepare a constitution for a permanent form of government.” The report was adopted and a committee appointed by the President to prepare an act for the holding of the constitutional convention.
At the same meeting Mr. Hatch was elected and took his seat as minister of foreign affairs.
The mass meeting of the Chinese last night was very largely attended. The newspapers report the attendance at 3,000. Vigorous resolutions against the proposed legislation of the Government were passed. I send newspaper clippings in regard to the above subjects.
now for a new deal—a plan of permanent government broached—hatch for minister of foreign affairs—three advisory nominations made to-day.
The members attending this afternoon’s regular meeting at the councils were: President Dole; Ministers Smith, Damon, and King; Messrs. Wilder, Hatch, Allen, Waterhouse, Ena, Brown, Tenney, Nott, Morgan, Bolte, and Emmeluth.
Mr. Brown presented a petition from 150 Chinese merchants and trades, praying that the councils refrain from enacting into a law the pending anti-Chinese bill. Referred to the judiciary committee.
Mr. Smith read the resolutions adopted at the Chinese mass meeting last evening. These resolutions were in yellow coverings, bound with red ribbons. The second set was in Chinese and English.
Secretary Rodgers read the resolutions adopted at the Annexation Club mass meeting Tuesday evening. The first was the indorsement of D. B. Smith for the advisory council. The second was the petition for the enlargement of the council.
Mr. Smith said that the cabinet proposed to make some answer to the resolution, which he believed intimated that the Provisional Government was not favorable to [Page 1238] the policy of annexation of the islands to the United States. Both resolutions were placed on file.
A note from the hoard of officers of the Annexation Club recommended Mr. Hatch for the office of minister of foreign affairs. The executive council has replied that in view of former correspondence, the selection of a member of the executive council should not be interfered with by the public.
A note from the American League mentioned the action of that organization in nominating D. B. Smith for the advisory council.
The Schuetzen Club, in a set of resolutions which were read by Mr. Smith, urges that the Government undertake public improvements, to the end that loyal citizens now idle may receive employment. Mr. Smith said there had been consideration of this letter, in the way of canvassing on improvements needed and money available. Resolutions referred to the executive council.
There was a big surprise when Mr. Hatch read a report of the judiciary committee on the petition for enlargment of the advisory council. It was set forth that even greater numbers might not give the representation which seems to be so greatly desired. In view of this, and perhaps the fact that more councilmen elected at a mass meeting might become unsatisfactory, and the certainty that a semblance of perpetuity in office was dangerous, the committee recommends that there be chosen delegates to sit with the councils and prepare a constitution for a permanent form of government. The report was adopted.
President Dole named as the committee to prepare an act for a constitutional convention, Messrs. Hatch, Bolte, Wilder, Nott, and W. O. Smith.
Mr. Smith moved that the councils proceed to the election of a minister of foreign affairs.
Mr. Hatch said that he wanted to tell the councils that he was not a candidate for this place in the sense of seeking it. If he was elected and installed it must be with the understanding that he had leave to resign when prior private engagements demanded his time. He could only accept the office temporarily.
Mr. Waterhouse nominated Mr. Hatch for the place. Messrs. Tenney and Water-house were appointed tellers and the ballot spread. All the ballots were for Mr. Hatch, and there was applause when the result was announced. Messrs. Brown and Ena conducted the new minister to a seat at a table beside Messrs. Smith, Damon, and King.
Mr. Wilder moved that the election of a successor to Mr. Hatch as an advisory councilman be postponed for a week.
Mr. Emmeluth, ascertaining from the chair that nominations were in order, entered Fritz Wilhelm who was described as a “man who had been earnest in the cause so long as his health permitted.”
Mr. Damon named D. B. Smith as an active worker for annexation and good government.
Mr. Allen offered Mark Robinson, an Hawaiian, as a candidate, saying that it would not be out of place to have another Hawaiian in the council.
The nominations were closed and the election postponed for one week.
voice of the chinese colony declares itself in a big mass meeting—positive expressions—what they have done for the country—their rights—resolutions.
In no city of a State or Territory of the American Union could the Chinese have made such a demonstration as was held at the theater of the Colony last night. Here the Pakes have been first tolerated, then encouraged, until they assume an attitude plainly defiant and close bordering on the dominant and dictatorial. From the weak and lowly field hand of the time of 1851 and the wage scale of $3 a month they have, by an unparalleled and alarming evolution, reached the station of an assertive element in the policy of the nation. The spectacle has not its counterpart elsewhere on the globe.
The Chinese theater here is a larger and better building than the colony of some 40,000 Asiatics in the city of San Francisco can boast. Last night the playhouse was jammed. It contained not less than 2,500 men, perhaps 500 more. Every particle of space was occupied. All Chinese business places, except the restaurants, closed at 4 o’clock. During the next two hours and a half Chinamen flocked to the theater from every direction. Hundreds of them rode in hacks. The tram cars were crowded and the rest walked in the heavy rain. The storm kept away many living at a distance. A weight was borne by the big gallery that it never had before. The throng extended well out into the street. As a mass meeting the event was in every way a success. The place is illy ventilated and scores were compelled to stand. The proceedings throughout riveted the attention of all. There were [Page 1239] frequent outbursts of applause and positive expressions from the audience. Half a hundred of the leading Chinese had seats on the stage. A number of natives and a few whites were present. A squad of police was in attendance. It is said that nearly all the 800 vagrants of Chinatown were on hand.
The tenor of the meeting may be judged by the fact that the use of a man-of-war was more than hinted at. The statement the Chinese paid more taxes than any other class was made, also the claim that but for them Honolulu trade would die, and that they had only to unite and stand firm to gain their ends.
Kam Chim, editor of one of the Chinese newspapers, called the meeting to order. He named Lau Chung, of the Wing Wo Tai Company, as president. No one else was mentioned. Lau Chung designated Chang Kim and Chang Den Sing as secretaries. Next Lau Chung announced the objects of the meeting at length and read and commented upon the license bill which has been placed before the councils by Attorney-General Smith. They were gathered, Chung said, to ascertain the views of the colony upon the proposed legislation. Chung had the act written on a sheet of paper about as large as a page of this paper and occupied about a quarter of an hour in placing it before the meeting.
Ing Chan, of the Tong On Jan Company, was presented as the first speaker, and was greeted with great cheering. He made a salaam and launched out into an impassioned tale of the wrongs of his race. When he asked: “Shall we put up with it?” a storm of noes came from all over the house. After suggesting that they communicate to the councils, he said: “If they will not listen to us, let us instruct our representative to communicate with the Chinese minister at Washington and ask him to write the home Government about our troubles.” Chan said that up to ten years ago the Chinese on the islands had been treated as men and as the equals of all. They are law-abiding, but their treatment is getting worse all the time. They do not meddle with the politics. They are now over 20,000 strong, and in varied occupations do good for the country; and, like one big family, must unite their forces. The white people are dissatisfied and want to impose laws that other countries would not think of passing.
The next speaker was Wong Wah Toy of the Wing Wo Tai Company, who said they were assembled to see if all were of one mind respecting the situation. Through their energy and industry they have made land more valuable. They have been oppressed long enough. The Government wants to tie their hands still more. Shall we allow it [No, no, from the audience.] “These foreigners do not remember their own scripture, which says ‘Do unto others as you would they should do unto you.’ They claim to be an enlightened people, but I say they are not if they act in this way. Unity is what we want and must have—unity in mind and action. If we unite we will gain our point. [Cheers.] We must unite, but in a peaceful way. There must be no talk yet of a man of war settling our troubles for us. That may come later.”
“I have been in the country for fifteen years,” said Ching Ling Him, a clerk for the Hawaiian Hardware Company, who says he hopes to become a merchant. “We are not a better nor a worse class than a-ny other. [Cheers.] If this bill passes no man can do any business except the one allowed him by law. The Chinese pay most of the taxes, and were it not for us the white merchants of Honolulu would be ruined. I can not be a rich man if this law passes, and we are treated worse than dogs. We do not steal. Why do they want to make such laws against it? All we must do is to stick together and we will come out all right.”
Chung Kim, a lawyer’s clerk, who brought his speech from C. W. Ashford’s office, said that the meeting was occasioned by the purpose of the Government to place Chinese under the ban and favor Portuguese. The Chinese have been extremely patient. They have borne oppression which would from almost any other race have provoked revolution. The Government seems to have formed the opinion that no injustice heaped upon the Chinese will be opposed or resented. That is a mistake. Even a worm will turn when trodden upon, and so it may be with the despised Chinese should the oppression be carried too far. Are we not all members of one great family? Is there any reason why one of God’s creatures should be trampled upon by his brothers?
By what right do our white-skinned brothers lord it over us and to say that we shall do business and trade and live and breathe only by their consent? Is it only because our skins are brown and theirs are white? The Government is glad enough to collect taxes from the Chinese, but when it comes to finding a class upon whom the spite of all cranks shall be expended, they at once light upon the patient and long-suffering Chinaman. The Geary Act in the United States is bad enough, but this act proposed to be imposed upon us is even worse than that. The Hawaiian constitution declares that the Government is established for the equal benefit of all men and all classes, but if the Chinese license act shall pass it will show that the Government intends to deny to us the equal benefit of the laws.[Page 1240]
W. C. Achi, a practicing attorney, who calls himself a Chinaman without a queua, and who addressed the gathering as “countrymen of my father,” spoke in the native tongue at length. “You have no representation in the councils to speak for you,” wailed Mr. Achi, “but you have the right to make your wishes known to the councils by resolutions. If this law passes a laborer who may save his money can not engage in business. The law will put a rope around your necks; it will injure all the Chinese, rich and poor, high and low, strong and weak. To turn in our favor the tide that is setting against us we must take some intelligent action. [Very good.] The supreme court would decide-that this law was wholly unconstitutional.”
Another clerk of a lawyer was now heard. This was N. Monwor, of Paul Neumann’s office. He believed that the good men at the head of the Government would refrain from passing an unjust law. Like Achi, he mentioned the supreme court, saying that it had protected the Chinese against the law of 1888.
Lee Chu, a carpenter, is a radical. Said he: “We are descended from great fathers. Why should we be treated differently from others? I say that if we do not do our best to overcome this law we will show that we have no blood in us.”
A number of other addresses were made and this committee of thirteen was selected to place the resolutions given below: C. Winam, Wong Wah Foy, Yun Quoin, Chu Gem, Chang Kim, Ho Ton, Lau Chock, Chang Chick, N. Monwar, N. Chan, Chu Wing, I. Kat Poo, Lau Chang. The resolutions read:
“Whereas there is now pending before the legislative body of the Provisional Government an act obliging Chinese residents of these islands to obtain a special, license, not called for in the case of any other nationality, as a prerequisite to conducting business in this country; and
Whereas such legislation is directed against the Chinese as a class, in violation of constitutional provisions and of the principles of equity and justice supposed to inhere in all civilized governments; and would, if enacted into law, prove an irritating oppression to a numerous and law-abiding class of residents who pay a large proportion of the taxes collected by the Government, and who are entitled to the protection of the laws, on terms of equality with other residents of these islands; now, therefore, be it
“Resolved, That we, the Chinese residents of Honolulu, in mass meeting assembled, on the evening of Wednesday, the 14th day of February, 1894, do solmenly protest against the injustice, degradation, and insult threatened to be imposed upon us and our race by the legislation so, as aforesaid, pending and proposed to be enacted into law;
“Resolved, That we respectfully assert our right, under the principles of enlightened justice and the provisions of the Hawaiian constitution, to dwell in Hawaii and be accorded the protection of the law upon terms of equality with those of other nationalities here sojourning.
“Resolved, That the Chinese in Hawaii have been guilty of no act or course of action which should in justice subject them to the humiliation of being singled out as objects of legislative caprice, oppression, or hatred, such as the act herein protested against will, if passed into law, embody and express.
“Resolved, That while we ask for nothing more than equality with other residents of equally good behavior, we shall be satisfied with and shall support and respect nothing that accords to our race a lesser degree of consideration and justice than residents of other nationalities enjoy.
“Resolved, That the chairman of this meeting do appoint a committee of 13 Chinese residents of this city to present these resolutions to his Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs at their earliest opportunity, and to urge upon his excellency the sentiments herein expressed.”