446-447

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp446-447 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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degrees. The liquid lavas run off from the summit and upper dome and distribute themselves at immense distances. But if fragmental products were ejected in any quantity they would pile up around the orifices from which they were ejected and thus form steep conical hills.

The ascent of Mauna Loa is a feat wholly unworthy of the name of mountaineering. It is necessary, however, to procure a guide who knows the way, otherwise the journey is pretty sure to prove more interesting than was expected. Many of the lava streams are masses of clinkers of the most angular and cruel aspect imaginable; indeed, the hummocks of an arctic ice field are good traveling in comparison, and only a guide familiar with the mountain knows how to avoid them.

Just east of Mauna Loa, about 20 or 25 miles, is the far-famed volcano Kilauea. This has been visited and described so often that little needs to be said here. It contains a great pit similar to that on Mauna Loa, and somewhat larger, though not so deep.

Within it are the great lakes of fire always burning. The lake at the summit of Mauna Loa is frozen over and silent, without a trace of volcanic activity, for several years at a time, and is open only for several months or sometimes a year or so before a great eruption. But at Kilauea the lava lakes are always aflame, and have been so ever since the earliest traditions of the natives. Forty years ago there was a pit within a pit, and in the lowest deep was a lava pool half a mile or more in diameter, always boiling, spouting, and flaming. At the present time the inner pit is quite filled up with solid lava, and a large conical pile of rocks is built up over the site of this former lake. Within this pile of rocks, however, is the remnant of this lake, now about 10 acres in area. Half a mile distant is a second lake which is easily visited, and it is an exhilarating sight to stand at night upon the brink of it and watch the boiling, surging, and swirling of 6 acres of melted lava. At brief intervals the surface darkens over by the formation of a black solid crust with streaks of fire around the edges. Suddenly a network of cracks shoots through the entire crust, and the fragments turn down edgewise and sink, leaving the pool one glowing expanse of exactly the appearance of so much melted cast iron. The heat of fusion in this lake is maintained, in spite of the enormous loss of heat by radiation, by the constant ascent of large quantities of intensely hot vapors from the depths of the earth.

An hour's lecture, ladies and gentlemen, leaves no time for rhetoric and graceful transitions from one theme to another. Having shoveled out to you, so to speak, some incoherent remarks concerning points of special interest in the islands, I proceed at once to a subject which will, I hope, prove more interesting, and that is the people who inhabit them.

When we were boys and girls our general idea of the inhabitants of the Pacific islands was that they were typical savages. What savages were we knew pretty well, or thought we knew, for had we not all read Robinson Crusoe? We thought of them as naked, black creatures, whose principal occupation was blowing conch-shells, brandishing thigh bones, and dancing a horrible cancan around a fire where a human carcass was roasting. But we were mistaken. The Polynesians, as a rule, were not savages, though many of the white people who first visited them were so.

In the Pacific islands two very distinct races are found. Of one race the Hawaiians or Tahitians may be regarded as the type. This race peoples also the Society, Samoan, Navigators, and Friendly groups, and includes the Maoris of New Zealand. All these islanders have the

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same physical features, similar social cults, and speak dialects of the same language. The difference between the language of a Hawaiian and of a Society islander is not greater than that between the German and the Dutch. The difference between the language of a Hawaiian and a Maori is less than between the Dutch and the English. This and the community of physical type establish the identity of race sufficiently. The western islands of the Pacific are occupied by a race which has such apparent affinity with the inhabitants of Papua or New Guinea as to raise a very strong presumption of their community, and the supposition is corroborated by many other circumstances. Of the two races, the first mentioned is much superior physically, mentally, and morally, and of all branches of that race the noblest is the Hawaiian.

Physically they are rather large, and have a light-brown color, straight hair, and are handsomely formed, of good bearing, and well featured. The women also are pleasing and comely. There is nothing about them savoring of the squaw, hag, or wench, which is almost universal among so many of the primitive dark-skinned races, and they are not without beauty, even according to the taste of the white man, if he is willing to admire a robust type of feminine grace as easily as he does the "pale, pious, pulmonary" persuasion. Among the Hawaiians the old kings and chiefs seemed to form a distinct caste and a breed greatly superior to the common herd. They were very large, sometimes almost gigantic in size, and of very impressive form and bearing. Their color was lighter, and they were of more massive frames.

At the time of the discovery of these islands by Capt. Cook, in 1776, these people were by no means savages. Their social system was as much above savagery on the one hand as it was below civilization on the other. A careful study of their habits and customs discloses the interesting fact that their social organization bore a striking similitude to that of Europe in the tenth and eleventh centuries. It was a feudal system almost exactly. They had kings who were in all strictness hereditary suzerains. Under them were chiefs who owed them fealty, and who held lands and titles by a tenure which can hardly be distinguished from enfeoffment, and which, at all events, was a truly feudal tenure; for it carried with it the recognition of the principle that the allodium was vested in the king alone, and the tenure was granted to the chief as a vassal in consideration of military service. The common people were mere villains, bound to the soil, though in some sort as tenants at will. The islands were divided up into several kingdoms, over each of which a king reigned, whose power was very absolute; in all things he was lord paramount. The kingdom was subdivided into tracts, for which the term now used in the islands is simply the word "lands." These lands were lorded over by chiefs, of whom there were several grades. They were subdivided again and again down to the smallest holdings, of a fraction of an acre, tenanted by the lower classes, and all were marked off by metes and bounds.

The power of the King was absolute, and limited only by the endurance of his subjects. Life and death, as well as property, were subject to his will; and yet there was a division of power. To make the parallel with mediaeval Europe more complete, the power of the King was rivaled, and in some cases even overborne, by the power of a priesthood; and the priests enforced their sway with a spiritual weapon of resistless potency. The weapons of Rome were many, chief among which were excommunication, the inquisition, and the interdict. The Hawaiian priest had a weapon more powerful than them all. It was the tabu. This word has been adopted, metaphorically, into the English


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