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Colburn's remark that the natives accepted the proclamation, although
it was directly contrary to what they wanted, is delicious.
There is no reason against annexation in the dissimilarity of laws, as an official document issued by our War Department in February of this year contains the following statement:
"The laws are modeled on those of the United States. There is a supreme court of justice, and, in addition, circuit judges and justices of the peace."
On the authority of this book I also state that 91 per cent of the trade of these islands is with the United States.
The former policy of our Government toward Hawaii and the anticipation of their eventual annexation is detailed in the report of Secretary Foster, of February 15, 1893, from which I will read briefly.
[Senate Ex. Doc. No. 77, Fifty-second Congress, second session.]
"The policy of the United States has been consistently and constantly declared against any foreign aggression in the Kingdom of Hawaii inimical to the necessarily paramount rights and interests of the American people there and the uniform contemplation of their annexation as a contingent necessity. But beyond that it is shown that annexation has been on more than one occasion avowed as a policy and attempted as a fact. Such a solution was admitted as early as 1850 by so farsighted a statesman as Lord Palmerston when he recommended to a visiting Hawaiian commission the contingency of a protectorate under the United States, or of becoming an integral part of this nation in fulfillment of a destiny due to close neighborhood and commercial dependence upon the Pacific States.
"Early in 1851 a contingent deed of cession of the Kingdom was drawn and signed by the King and placed sealed in the hands of the commissioner of the United States, who was to open it and act upon its provisions at the first hostile shot fired by France in subversion of Hawaiian independence.
"In 1854 Mr. Marcy advocated annexation, and a draft of a treaty was actually agreed upon with the Hawaiian ministry, but its completion was delayed by the successful exercise of foreign influence upon the heir to the throne, and finally defeated by the death of the King, Kamehameha III.
"In 1867 Mr. Seward, having become advised of a strong annexation sentiment in the islands, instructed our minister at Honolulu favorably to receive any native overtures for annexation. And on the 12th of September, 1867, he wrote to Mr. McCook that 'if the policy of annexation should conflict with the policy of reciprocity, annexation is in every case to be preferred.'
"President Johnson in his annual message of December 9, 1868, regarded reciprocity with Hawaii as desirable 'until the people of the island shall of themselves, at no distant day, voluntarily apply for admission into the Union.'
"In 1871, on the 5th of April, President Grant, in a special message, significantly solicited some expression of the views of the Senate respecting the advisability of annexation.
"In an instruction of March 25, 1873, Mr. Fish considered the necessity of annexing the islands in accordance with the wise foresight of those who see a future that must extend the jurisdiction and the limits of this nation, and that will require a resting spot in midocean
between the Pacific coast and the vast domains of Asia, which are now opening to commerce and Christian civilization.' And he directed our minister not to discourage the feeling which may exist in favor of annexation to the United States, but to seek and even invite information touching the terms and conditions upon which that object might be effected.
"Since the conclusion of the reciprocity treaty of 1875 it has been the obvious policy of the succeeding administrations to assert and defend against other powers the exclusive commercial rights of the United States and to fortify the maintenance of the existing Hawaiian Government through the direct support of the United States so long as that Government shall prove able to protect our paramount rights and interests.
"On December 1, 1881, Mr. Blaine, in an instruction to the American minister at Honolulu, wrote:
"'It (this Government) firmly believes that the position of the Hawaiian Islands, as the key to the dominion of the American Pacific, demands their benevolent neutrality, to which end it will earnestly cooperate with the native Government. And if through any cause the maintenance of such a position of benevolent neutrality should be found by Hawaii to be impracticable, this Government would then unhesitatingly meet the altered situation by seeking an avowedly American solution of the grave issues presented.'"
Now, a word as to the objections to annexation and I will close. I know that a new line of thought has been developed among us, which I can not better characterize than by calling it a system of national self-abnegation.
If any policy can be shown to be for the special advantage of the United States gentlemen holding these views oppose it.
If Hawaii is valuable to us there will be so much the more generosity in presenting it to England.
If our business has been more prosperous, and our labor better paid than elsewhere, they think this is not fair to the rest of the world, and advocate a reduction of the tariff to equalize conditions.
I do not address myself to gentlemen holding such views, as I can not understand their position nor they mine.
From my own standpoint I have heard only one objection to the policy of annexation that seemed to me to have substantial weight. It is that the population of the Sandwich Islands are in great part unfit for American citizenship. This may be true, but in that case we can annex it as a part of one of our present States, or maintain a territorial government until they are fitted, as we are doing in the case of Alaska, and as we have done heretofore with other annexations.
The fear of annexing these small islands, which we so much need, on grounds of opposition to territorial expansion, seems peculiar, almost absurd, in a country more than three-quarters of whose territory comes from annexations by purchase or otherwise.
|In 1783 our territory amounted to||827,844|
|The Louisiana purchase added||1,179,931|
|The Mexican cession, California, etc||545,783|
|The Gadsden purchase||45,535|
|The Alaska purchase||577,390|
|Making a total of||3,603,884|
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