598-599

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp598-599 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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after you become accustomed to the poi. The natives eat it with the finger, when it is thick. When thick they eat it with one finger, a little thinner with two, and a little thinner with three or four. They dip it up with their fingers, roll it around and put it in their mouths.

The Chairman. Is this a food common to all those countries?

Mr. Spalding. Common to the Pacific islands.

The Chairman. How many natives have you upon your estate?

Mr. Spalding. We have not a great many natives on Kauai. Within the limits of my lands I do not think there are over 500.

The Chairman. Do you find the natives tractable, people easy to be controlled?

Mr. Spalding. Oh, yes. I have never found the natives to be anything else. They are a good-natured people, not prone to quarrelling or fighting.

The Chairman. How are they about public affairs; do they feel much interest in political affairs?

Mr. Spalding. They are very fond of lawsuits; they are very fond of arguing, very fond of making speeches. I have known a native to talk for two or three hours. Of course, he would repeat himself a good many times. But they are very fond of everything of that kind. We have a great many native lawyers. They have a great idea of making speeches.

The Chairman. Of course, then, in their speeches they are fond of talking about politics?

Mr. Spalding. Oh, yes; they talk about politics and most anything else. They ring in anything in a political speech.

The Chairman. Do they seem to take any real, deep or sincere concern in public affairs, management of the Government?

Mr. Spalding. No, not as a rule.

The Chairman. What do you say of them as a governing race?

Mr. Spalding. I have always found them very easily governed.

The Chairman. No, not to be governed, but as governing.

Mr. Spalding. They acquire an education up to a certain point very readily, and all kinds of education, musical and others; but that point is not very high up in the scale. They are apt to be very fanciful in their ideas, rather than practical. We have never found any of them to be practical enough to transact business of any importance.

The Chairman. Do you know any native Hawaiians who could take your sugar estate, for instance, and make a success of it?

Mr. Spalding. I do not think there was ever a native on the islands who could run it for five years without ruining it. I was in partnership with Kamehameha V when he was King, and got to know him pretty well. I started a sugar plantation on the island of Maui at his request. He owned an interest in the plantation. I agreed to take the management of it on certain terms. In the management of the plantation I came in contact with the governor of Maui, who was an old-fashioned native and quite smart for his times. I found there was so little business about him that we were constantly having trouble.

Senator Gray. You mean the governor and you?

Mr. Spalding. Yes, about the King's lands. His idea was that the mill should furnish money for the planting of the cane, and the King to get his rent whether the proceeds came to the amount advanced or not. That is a matter we could not agree upon, and I sold out my interest.

The Chairman. I would like to ask you about the healthfulness of the Hawaiian Islands.

-p599-

Mr. Spalding. I think a large part of the race is diseased.

The Chairman. I am speaking of the healthfulness of the climate.

Mr. Spalding. The climate is a very salubrious one, and particularly good for young people and very old people. It is not a good climate for an active man, because it is too even and equable to be, perhaps, healthful for a vigorous man.

Senator Gray. Enervating?

Mr. Spalding. Enervating, yes.

The Chairman. You spoke of the whole population in a certain sense being diseased. That is not the result of any climatic condition?

Mr. Spalding. No. If I had the time and you had the leisure, I could tell you from my own experience with the natives how easy it was for them to drift into corrupt ways of life and government. They are naturally indolent and careless about health or property. Kalakaua, the last king, was a good-natured, indolent sort of man. He was a man of very fair education; but he was, of course, a thorough native, and his idea of morality was not very great. I had occasion to know him pretty well, because he owned a quarter interest in my plantation at one time. He undertook to furnish the native labor to do the work, which would have been a valuable consideration for the plantation. If that had been carried out it would have been quite consistent with business views to have furnished him the means of paying the assessments on the interest which he held. But within a very few months after he attempted to do this, I found it was utterly useless to depend on him. He had engaged people to do work in the fields. They would start out to do the work, then would stop and have a little talk over it, and then go fishing instead of going to work. The result was the first crop was less than a ton of sugar to the acre on land that I have harvested since 4 to 5 tons to the acre, by good cultivation. I was obliged to buy Kalakaua out. I held his notes, and the ex-Queen, his sister, who had some property, was the indorser on the notes, but I gave his notes back to him and took his interest, simply because there was no use in my carrying him, finding that he could not get the labor to help me carry on the plantation.

The Chairman. He was not a man of business capacity?

Mr. Spalding. No, none of them are. They attempt to do some things. The King used to go down to the plantation himself and ride around; but it was simply the lack of capacity on the part of the native to carry out any important business. That is why the whole country, so far as it is worth anything, has drifted into the hands of others.

The Chairman. You knew Kalakaua, I suppose, and his personal and political history at the time he was King?

Mr. Spalding. Yes.

The Chairman. And up to the revolution of 1887?

Mr. Spalding. Yes.

The Chairman. When that revolution was inaugurated, was it done by any particular organization for the purpose of annexing the islands to the United States?

Mr. Spalding. There was no particular talk of annexation at that time. But there was an organization gotten up for the purpose of forcing the King into a better form of government. He had rather undertaken to do the whole business himself—in this way: he had a minister of foreign affairs who was also ex-officio minister of the interior, ex-officio minister of finance, and ex-officio attorney-general.

The Chairman. Who was that?


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