596-597

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp596-597 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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natives are not fond of regular work. I use a good many natives for cattle work.

The Chairman. That is, located on your lands?

Mr. Spalding. Yes; they live on the place.

The Chairman. Talking generally, how are the natives provided with homes; what kind of homes have they?

Mr. Spalding. They are very comfortable; they have their little lands, what we call kuleanas, from which they raise the taro plant.

The Chairman. Patches of ground which you would sell them?

Mr. Spalding. Oh, no; patches of ground they have used for a good many years. To explain that I would have to give you some information of our land laws.

The Chairman. We would like to know how the land became distributed.

Mr. Spalding. In the reign of Kamehameha III—I do not remember exactly what year he came onto the throne, but I think somewhere about 1820—the King changed from the feudal system, if you might so term it, or the system by which he held all the lands in the country, and everybody was subservient to him, to a system by which he gave away the lands of the Kingdom, divesting himself of this right in, I think, three divisions. He gave certain lands to the Crown, to remain Crown lands forever—large tracts of land; he gave what were termed kuleanas—that is, small patches of lands that could be watered, something like a rice patch, sometimes not more than twice the size of this room—lands capable of raising taro, which has been always the food of the people—he gave to the people all these lands, with the proviso that they should make application to the Government, through the proper channel, and receive from the Government what is known as a royal patent, and that is where all the titles to lands in that country come from.

The Chairman. Are these kuleana titles fee simple titles?

Mr. Spalding. They are royal patent titles; they are from the Government.

The Chairman. They are in fee?

Mr. Spalding. Yes. We consider them the best possible title.

The Chairman. No reversions?

Mr. Spalding. No, except mineral rights. But there are no minerals in the country, and never have been.

The Chairman. What is the third class of lands?

Mr. Spalding. The third class of lands the King gave to the Government what are called Government lands.

Senator Gray. Were they distinct from the Crown lands?

Mr. Spalding. They were distinct from the Crown lands. The profits from the Crown lands were to revert to the Crown. For instance, I have what are called ahupuaas or large tracts of land, sometimes running up into the mountains and containing a great number of acres. Some of these ahupuaas belong to the Crown—that is, they were reserved as Crown lands. I pay a rental on these ahupuaas to these Grown commissioners.

The Chairman. Those are what you call the leased lands?

Mr. Spalding. Yes. Also, we have lands that belong to the Government. These are the lands that the King so set apart—lands which belong to the Government, to the Crown, not to one King or another King, but to the Crown in perpetuity; the others to the people by royal patent. Kamehameha III divided up the land in that way.

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The Chairman. When you came to buy up this large estate to which you have the fee simple title, from whom did you buy it?

Mr. Spalding. The fee simple title came from the man who had previously owned it.

The Chairman. Where did he get it?

Mr. Spalding. I do not know where he got it originally, without looking back over the papers to see where these lands came from. The large chiefs took these pieces as the people took the kuleanas.

The Chairman. So that to this land that you have you derived title from the chiefs?

Mr. Spalding. Yes; in the old times. And some of them are Crown lands for which I pay rent.

The Chairman. In the disbursement, were these lands open to native settlers?

Mr. Spalding. Preference was given to natives who were living upon the Kuleanas—there was sometimes 1 acre, sometimes 5, sometimes 10, as the case might be. But the common people generally took the lands that could be watered, for the reason that the big lands running up into the mountains furnished nothing but pasturage; were of no particular use to them.

The Chairman. In order to raise their native food, taro, the natives were obliged to have water?

Mr. Spalding. Yes; the lands that could be watered.

The Chairman. The taro grows in water?

Mr. Spalding. Yes. It belongs to the Caladium family and is known as the Arum Esculentum.

The Chairman. Are the natives, employed by you when not engaged in their own industries?

Mr. Spalding. A great many of them are when they want work. Some of them raise taro on my laud. To some of them I lease land. Some of them work entirely in handling cattle. Some natives I have as overseers.

Senator Gray. This plant that you call taro. What is its character?

Mr. Spalding. It is a bulbous root that grows in the moist ground. Taro grows in a certain amount of water, as rice does.

Senator Gray. Is it anything like the potato?

Mr. Spalding. Something like the potato. It is starchy in its nature, like the potato; but before it is cooked it has a very strong, pungent flavor and burns the mouth; it must be cooked to eat it.

Senator Gray. Something like the turnip?

Mr. Spalding. Like the Indian turnip when it is raw. But taro after baking, or boiling, becomes like a potato, and can be mashed up.

Senator Gray. That is the staple food of the islands?

Mr. Spalding. That is the staple. When it is mashed it becomes poi. After it has been broken up, it becomes like hasty pudding. When they mix it with water and allowed to stand it becomes sour, and they prefer it as it becomes more and more acid.

Senator Gray. Do the natives make a liquor of it?

Mr. Spalding. No. From the ti plant they make liquor.

Senator Gray. You have eaten taro?

Mr. Spalding. Oh, yes.

The Chairman. Is it palatable?

Mr. Spalding. Very nutritious and pleasant to the taste, especially


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