1044-1045

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp1044-1045 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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-p1044-

The Chairman. You mean the measure to license the introduction of opium?

Mr. Reeder. Yes. It was done largely for revenue for the islands.

The Chairman. Did you gather from the people there that they thought that was a rather dangerous enterprise for the public morality and the maintenance of the law?

Mr. Reeder. Yes. The men who were opposed to it were opposed to it from those considerations.

The Chairman. Were they very earnest about it?

Mr. Reeder. They seemed to be. The ladies were more earnest than anybody else.

The Chairman. I suppose they were fearing the demoralization of their sons.

Mr. Reeder. I think that was amongst the things. They had a large petition. You could see by the names on it that they were Americans-at least, not Chinese.

The Chairman. Did you see any demonstration amongst what we call the white population in Hawaii-Americans, Germans, English or what not-that seemed to lead in the direction of the demoralization of those people or the imposing upon them of unjust or improper restrictions of law?

Mr. Reeder. I think I can say that I did see some things which I opposed very much all my life. For instance, there is this: there are a good many white men who are living there with Kanaka women to whom they are not married-a good many of them. But I do not know of any leading legislator or any leading man there who had his family with him who was addicted to this practice.

The Chairman. Can you say that any such irregularities of life as those to which you have alluded have received partial encouragement or even toleration on the part of what we call the white population?

Mr. Reeder. By a good many of the middle and lower classes. Do you consider that former question was answered? I would divide that question. Let it be read until I say stop.

The question was read as follows:

"Did you see any demonstration amongst what we call the white population in Hawaii-Americans, Germans, English, and what not-that seemed to lead in the direction of the demoralization of those people?"

Mr. Reeder. From that last sentence-"demoralization of those people." There are a good many men there living with Kanaka women to whom they are not married. Some of them were living there long enough to have families by them, and still recognize themselves as not married-and still recognize that the marriage vow was not obligatory upon them. That was true of a good many of the Chinese; they were living with the Kanaka women, and so were some of the Portuguese. I do not think these practices obtain amongst the better elements of the population of Honolulu, or that they were tolerated or encouraged by them.

The Chairman. In the discussions that you heard there among the people, do you remember whether the question came up as to the necessity of getting rid of the cabinet in order to be able to carry this opium bill and this lottery bill into effect?

Mr. Reeder. I do not think that there was. The main thing that they had there troubles on was another issue. The Queen was struggling to get the ascendency for the purpose of promoting these things-a return to the native rule, already explained.

-p1045-

Senator Frye. That is, the Queen and her people were trying to get rid of the constitution of 1887, which imposed restrictions upon her and her cabinet?

Mr. Reeder. Yes.

Senator Frye. Was this opium bill and this lottery bill part of the campaign-to get the Kanaka population to do away with the constitution of 1887?

Mr. Reeder. I do not think they had any design of that kind. I think those two bills were for revenue. I think it was said by the Queen that she was embarrassed and the Government was embarrassed on account of its debt.

The Chairman. Did you understand that the debt was a very large one?

Mr. Reeder. Yes, it was large for that place. It amounted to almost $4,000,000-when pay day for the interest came it would amount to very nearly $4,000,000.

The Chairman. I suppose you are not familiar with the facts in regard to the burden of taxation in Hawaii, to know upon whom it falls?

Mr. Reeder. Fell upon the property.

The Chairman. Who owned the property-I mean, of course, the property that would yield revenue?

Mr. Reeder. I think there was a large amount gathered from the sugar plantations.

Senator Frye. The chairman asked who owned the property. Did not the white men own nine-tenths of it?

Mr. Reeder. I think so; yes, eight-tenths.

The Chairman. Do you know any Kanakas or half-whites who owned any large sugar estates?

Mr. Reeder. No; but there were men in business there who were half-whites, who owned stock in some of those companies.

The Chairman. But, if I gather your idea, the great burden of taxation rested upon white men who owned the property?

Mr. Reeder. Yes.

The Chairman. Did you see any disposition or detect any disposition amongst those people to do, or to attempt to do, anything else than protect themselves against unjust legislation, legislation that was wicked in its character, and that tended to break down the authority of law and good morals?

Mr. Reeder. I do not know that I could interpret the action of the white people as having anything to do especially in that direction.

The Chairman. Have you any personal knowledge of the facts that tended toward the recent revolution?

Mr. Reeder. I have some, gathered in the way that we have been talking about.

The Chairman. You were there an observer.

Mr. Reeder. Yes.

The Chairman. Were you in the Legislature-I mean the hall where the Legislature sat-on the Saturday that it was prorogued by the Queen?

Mr. Reeder. I was not; no.

The Chairman. You were not there at that time?

Mr. Reeder. I was not there at 12 o'clock; no.

The Chairman. Did you go to the Government building that afternoon?


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