630-631

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp630-631 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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The Chairman. Are they teaching chemistry, etc.?

Mr. Alexander. They have never tried to teach chemistry in the Hawaiian language.

The Chairman. Were you ever in charge of the public school system in Hawaii?

Mr. Alexander. I have been a member of the board of education for a long time.

The Chairman. How long?

Mr. Alexander. Since 1887.

The Chairman. What proportion of the native Kanaka population over 10 years of age are now enabled to read and write, either in their own language or in the English language?

Mr. Alexander. I could not give a definite statement of the proportion of the adult Kanakas who can read and write correctly. Most of them have a smattering of the English.

The Chairman. I do not mean to read and write correctly, but to read and write in their own language.

Mr. Alexander. I think from 10 to 15 they understand considerable English.

The Chairman. Can they read and write in their own language? I am speaking of their capacity to read and write.

Mr. Alexander. In their own language I suppose nine-tenths. It is very easy to read and write the Hawaiian language.

The Chairman. I wish to know whether the art of reading and writing has been acquired by the people there, and to what extent.

Mr. Alexander. We have had compulsory education there for a good many years. If a child does not go to school he is taken up by the truant officer, and the parents are taken to account. So that the natives can read and write their own language.

The Chairman. At what age?

Mr. Alexander. I should say certainly all by 15, and probably nine-tenths of those above 10 years of age. Their language is written phonetically, so that there is no difficulty in spelling.

Senator Frye. Prof. Alexander stated the physical conditions and all that sort of thing, but he did not say what religious advancement the children made.

The Chairman. What was the religious condition of Hawaii when you were a child ?

Mr. Alexander. Very ignorant. They had the most crude ideas about religion; they were very eager to get ideas. They were very receptive at that time, and it was a great pleasure to teach them at that time.

The Chairman. What was their religion?

Mr. Alexander. They had thrown away their idols—their taboos. But they had a great deal of superstition still, particularly about sorcery. I think the most injurious superstition they have is in regard to the cause of disease—sickness. They think that diseases are caused supernaturally.

The Chairman. In your childhood was this condition of ignorance and paganism almost universal?

Mr. Alexander. Almost universal.

The Chairman. What is the degree of the improvement?

Mr. Alexander. At the present time they are all nominal Christians —Catholics, Protestants, Episcopalians, Mormons. There is yet more or less of underlying superstition spread among the natives.

The Chairman. Religion is free under your laws and constitution?

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Mr. Alexander. Entirely. The old superstitions, about the cause of sickness and about sorcery have never been rooted out.

The Chairman. Is there any connection out there between the church and state?

Mr. Alexander. There never has been.

The Chairman. Are churches found commonly in Hawaii?

Mr. Alexander. The population has been decreased so that there are a great many churches standing where there is no population— empty churches in some districts.

The Chairman. How about schoolhouses; have they been abundanly supplied to the people?

Mr. Alexander. At present pretty well. I joined the Board of Education in 1887. There was then a great deficiency of schoolhouses. During the reign of Kalakaua government money was diverted to other purposes. But a great many schoolhouses were built, improvements made, and at present schoolhouses are pretty well provided.

The Chairman. Are they comfortable schoolhouses?

Mr. Alexander. Yes.

The Chairman. Furnished with proper furniture?

Mr. Alexander. Yes. By American methods; furniture imported by the United States or made there in accordance, I might say, with the Hawaiian school system. They received a gold medal at the Paris Exposition.

The Chairman. What is the school age there according to law?

Mr. Alexander. Seven to fourteen.

The Chairman. Is it a part of that system that all the young population that are able to go to school, physically qualified for being taught, shall attend the school?

Mr. Alexander. Very nearly. There has been a want of school accommodation in some school districts, and we could not compel them until we had schoolhouses enough. At the present time we have pretty nearly caught up.

The Chairman. So that it might be said that the native youth of Hawaii are universally under process of education?

Mr. Alexander. Very nearly.

The Chairman. Do the Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese send their children to those schools?

Mr. Alexander. Yes; they are obliged to, except where they attend a private school. There are about eleven thousand children there in schools and three thousand of these are in the private schools. The Chinese and Japanese have not many children; a great maiority of them are adult males.

Mr. Chairman. But the Chinese and Japanese are subject to this compulsory education the same as the Hawaiian?

Mr. Alexander. Yes. The Chinese have a few Chinese schools.

The Chairman. Out of what funds are these schools sustained?

Mr. Alexander. In the first place there is a poll tax devoted to it, school tax; and the school tax of each district has to be expended in that district. The school tax is kept separate, and can not be touched for any other purpose. Even through Kalakaua's reign that was kept separate. This is not enough, and the Legislature has to appropriate largely to supplement that.

The Chairman. What is about the annual expenditure for school purposes in Hawaii—I mean Governmental expenditure?

Mr. Alexander. It is very difficult to say, the way the accounts have been kept. There is a school tax, and then there is a large amount


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