628-629

From TheMorganReport
Jump to: navigation, search
Previous Page Next Page

Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp628-629 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

Text Only


-p628-

Mr. Alexander. On their backs in bundles. It was a mine of wealth for the chiefs while it lasted.

The Chairman. What was their physical stature, strength, and development; strong, or a weakly race at that time?

Mr. Alexander. I think they averaged pretty well, not quite the equal of the white race.

The Chairman. Capable of performing hard labor?

Mr. Alexander. Did a good deal of hard labor. They are the best boatmen in the world; make good seamen. I suppose that being obliged to labor for their chiefs was good for them.

The Chairman. What was the state of morality amongst them at that time, according to your understanding from your childhood?

Mr. Alexander. It was very low, so far as the sexual relations were concerned. There were very few crimes of violence, very rare, and not much stealing. A native will lie; thinks very little of being charged with a lie, but feels very angry at being charged with stealing; and I think that dates from away back. We have not yet got the habit of locking our doors, and burglaries are generally committed by Chinamen or professionals from San Francisco or Australia; not by the natives. They are a kindly race. My father and mother spent some time in Marquesas Islands. They are a Polynesian race of a different type. When my father came back he enjoyed a sense of security that was a great relief. They are a very docile people.

Senator Gray. Affectionate?

Mr. Alexander. Yes.

Senator Gray. Grateful for a kindness?

Mr. Alexander. They have the name for being ungrateful; but I think it is rather because of their short memories, and impressions do not last long, either for good or for evil. They are not a revengeful people. My father was worshiped by the people of that section of the islands. He was their physician, adviser, and friend in every possible way.

The Chairman. And they were very fond of him?

Mr. Alexander. Yes. At that time they were very eager to learn, when everything was fresh and novel. To buy books they would go into the mountains and collect arrowroot to get means, and my father has often said that the whole population came to hear him. They were hungry, as he explained it, eager to drink in what he had to say.

The Chairman. Did your father speak the Hawaiian tongue?

Mr. Alexander. Yes.

The Chairman. Preach to them in that tongue and talk to them in it?

Mr. Alexander. Yes.

The Chairman. Do you speak the language?

Mr. Alexander. Yes. I published a grammar of the Hawaiian language.

The Chairman. While we are upon that—and it is germane to the inquiry—I will ask you whether the first instruction of the Hawaiian people in letters was in the Hawaiian tongue?

Mr. Alexander. When the missionaries first landed they taught English for a while. They had to learn the Hawaiian language, of course. In the meantime the first schools were taught in English. When they had learned the language, reduced it to writing, they dropped the English.

The Chairman. Did they prepare schoolbooks in the Hawaiian tongue?

Mr. Alexander. They did.

-p629-

The Chairman. Did they use the Roman alphabet?

Mr. Alexander. Adapted the Roman alphabet.

The Chairman. NO new characters were adapted to the Hawaiian tongue?

Mr. Alexander. No.

The Chairman. What books did they first publish?

Mr. Alexander. The first books were religious books and schoolbooks.

The Chairman. Were the schoolbooks numerous, on different subjects?

Mr. Alexander. Yes; they were.

The Chairman. Geographies.

Mr. Alexander. Geographies and readers. And then my father taught in a high school, with books in mathematics, as far as trigonometry, surveying, and navigation. They had books of general history, and in fact of political economy, published in their own language. There was a book on anatomy, a small edition. I think there was a larger library in their own language than in that of any other group in the Pacific Ocean.

Senator Frye. Am I to understand you as saying that the missionaries for the first time in the islands reduced the Hawaiian language to letters?

Mr. Alexander. Yes.

Senator Frye. They had no written language when the missionaries went there?

Mr. Alexander. No.

The Chairman. These books were printed in the United States?

Mr. Alexander. No, they were printed there; the printing presses were taken with the missionaries. They afterward published the Pilgrim's Progress and quite a number of religious works besides the Bible.

The Chairman. More recently, if I understand correctly, the instruction in Hawaii is in the English tongue?

Mr. Alexander. Principally now.

The Chairman. You do not teach in the Hawaiian tongue?

Mr. Alexander. A few schools, probably not more than one-twentieth.

The Chairman. Is it the English tongue that is spoken in Hawaii?

Mr. Alexander. By the rising generation; not the adults.

The Chairman. Do they speak it brokenly?

Mr. Alexander. They are trying to give the school children the pure English, not pigeon English. Not many of the adults can speak or write correctly.

The Chairman. Among a great many people, what you call the pigeon English is in vogue there, as in China?

Mr. Alexander. It is not like China.

The Chairman. It is filled with a mixture of the English and native tongue?

Mr. Alexander. No; I could not say that they mix languages as they-do in China. The native language is a very easy language to pick up, and it is understood by all the Chinamen, and the Japs pick it up. It is easy to learn the language. It is still the language for the laws. All the laws are published in English and Hawaiian.

The Chairman. Is there an extensive vocabulary of words?

Mr. Alexander. It is not a rich language. Words had to be coined for theological purposes, for law purposes, and for mathematics.


Previous Page Next Page