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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp626-627 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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The Chairman. Are the houses built of wood?

Mr. Alexander. Very generally.

The Chairman. Between what degrees are the variations of temperature?

Mr. Alexander. Thirty degrees.

The Chairman. What is the lowest point?

Mr. Alexander. At the sea level it very rarely goes below fifty, generally not lower than fifty-five.

The Chairman. It gets colder as you ascend the mountains?

Mr. Alexander. Yes.

The Chairman. There are two mountains quite high?

Mr. Alexander. The highest mountain is 13,820 feet. There is another mountain 13,675 feet. On those you will find snow all the year round, not covered, but more or less at the top.

The Chairman. Are those volcanic mountains?

Mr. Alexander. Yes, volcanic mountains. Snow falls on them in the winter.

The Chairman. So that, the climate is really affected or made there by the altitude?

Mr. Alexander. It is. Then we have some very fine upland, tableland, that has not yet been used for agriculture, but I think it will be.

The Chairman. What is the elevation of the table-lands of which you speak?

Mr. Alexander. In the island of Hawaii, north of Mount Kea, which has been overrun by catle, and which I think will be cultivated hereafter, the elevation is 2,500 feet.

The Chairman. Is there water on it—running streams?

Mr. Alexander. There is one running stream; but they depend chiefly on the rain.

The Chairman. It is the side of the island, to windward?

Mr. Alexander. About the center of the island.

The Chairman. The island toward the windward has rains?

Mr. Alexander. There is a difference between the two sides of the island.

The Chairman. Like the Andes?

Mr. Alexander. South America on a small scale. In the district of Hilo we average 12 feet of rain, and have for a good many years.

The Chairman. How much of the island does that rainfall cover?

Mr. Alexander. Not more than one-tenth. Perhaps I have put it rather low, to keep within bounds. In the region of the Kona district it is very dry. That has land and sea breezes, and has southerly rains. It is a fertile district, although rocky. It has very rich land between the lava flows. It has a good coffee district, although it is on the dry side.

The Chairman. What sort of fruits have they in Hawaii, tropical or semitropical?

Mr. Alexander. Tropical. We call our climate subtropical. Our climate is changed by the trade winds and ocean current from the Bering Sea.

The Chairman. From what direction do those trade winds blow?

Mr. Alexander. From the northeast.

The Chairman. During what part of the year? Are they continuous?

Mr. Alexander. They are strongest in the summer; they follow the sun.

The Chairman. In its movements north and south, do you mean?

Mr. Alexander. Yes.


The Chairman. How long do they continue?

Mr. Alexander. The trade winds blow pretty steadily during the summer.

Senator Gray. That is, the three summer months?

Mr. Alexander. Yes. During the winter they are not so steady; at intervals there are southerly winds. It is not however, like the monsoon.

The Chairman. Is there any period in the year when there is a calm?

Mr. Alexander. There are short periods, especially in the winter— January.

The Chairman. But these trade winds during the year would be reckoned as a steady blow?

Mr. Alexander. Irregular.

The Chairman. Irregular, but steady—I mean by that continuous, with greater or less force. How about that ocean current?

Mr. Alexander. We are on the edge of that current; it runs from the east; but the ocean around us is cooler than the air, and our country is ten degrees cooler than other tropical countries in the same latitude.

The Chairman. You say this current comes from the east, runs to the west?

Mr. Alexander. Yes; we are on the edge of the great equatorial current.

The Chairman. It comes from the American coast and goes toward the Asiatic, the equator?

Mr. Alexander. Yes; a scientific gentleman examined the condition, and explained the coolness of the current from the Bering Sea to be on account of the Pacific Ocean being closed at its upper end.

The Chairman. Hawaii is within the flow of the great equatorial current of the Pacific Ocean?

Mr. Alexander. We are near the edge of it, so that it is rather irregular. It affects our climate.

The Chairman. I would like you to state as briefly as you can, and somewhat fully, the progress that has been made in Hawaii since your childhood in civilization, in religion, in government, in industries, and in general development. You can go on and state it your own way, covering such points as will give the committee some correct idea of the real state of the progress that has been made in that country.

Mr. Alexander. When I was a child the natives were abject slaves to their chiefs. They had no rights that the chiefs were bound to respect. They were tenants at will. They could be turned off the land at the word of a chief. Sometimes the whole of the inhabitants of a valley could be evicted at the change of the landlord—at the order of a higher chief. The country was full of natives who were dispossessed, looking around for a place, another home. They were very poor. The natives had very little foreign cloth when I was a boy—they wore the bark cloth.

Senator Gray. Made by themselves?

Mr. Alexander. Made by themselves, and not much of that. They were subject to forced labor by their chiefs. Previously to that time the sandalwood was exhausted. While the sandalwood lasted they suffered a great deal of oppression; they had to spend months in the mountains cutting sandalwood for their chiefs.

The Chairman. How would they get it down from the mountains?

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