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Col. Blount's sketch of the causes of the late revolution on pp. 3-15 of his report betrays a total misconception of Hawaiian history and of the nature of the political contest that has been going on during the last fifteen years or more.
E.g., on p. 5 he charges to the reciprocity treaty "a new labor system," which preceded it by twenty years, and the "alienation between the native and white races," which had shown itself long before, and the causes of which I have briefly explained in my second paper, and the "many so-called revolutions," which really had no relation to that treaty. On p. 6 is an extraordinary statement about the division of the lands in 1848, which for the first time in history is called "discreditable." He says the Kanaka at that time "generally read and wrote English," which few adults can do now.
His remarks about the descendants of missionaries seem to be borrowed from C. T. Gulick and Nordhoff. The sneering use of the term dates from the days of the "beach-combers" and Botany Bay convicts, who preceded the missionaries in those islands. The descendants of the latter are hated chiefly for their adherence to the principles of their fathers and their endeavors to preserve the constitutional lines on which the Government was administered under the Kamehameha dynasty.
Col. Blount's total misapprehension of history is shown by his astonishing statement on page 7, that the ex-Mormon adventurer Gibson was "free from all suspicion of bribery."
On page 8 he speaks of several criminal acts, proved in open court, as "alleged," and says that the "alleged corrupt action of the King Kalakaua could have been avoided by more careful legislation," when the whole difficulty lay in the autocratic power of the King, which enabled him to appoint the upper house and to pack the lower house of the Legislature. He ignores the fact that it was impossible for a white man to be naturalized unless he was a tool of the King. He passes very lightly over the outrages which caused the uprising of all white men and of the more decent natives in 1887.
On page 10 he omits the vital change made in section 20, which struck at the root of the King's power to pack or bribe the Legislature.
It also should be borne in mind that naturalization in the Hawaiian Kingdom never had included abjuration of one's former citizenship.
Col. Blount is grossly misinformed in regard to the character of the election held after that revolution, 1887. It was the first fair and free election by really secret ballot held for many years. No intimidation whatever. The law was improved afterwards, on the Australian system, by the reform party. The appointment of the upper house was taken from an irresponsible semi-savage monarch and vested in citizens possessing a moderate property qualification. Otherwise all the great financial interests of the country would have been at the mercy of an ignorant populace.
Throughout this sketch he ignores the real distinction between the two principal parties, which for fifteen years have divided the country, the one in favor of reaction in politics, religion, and morals, in favor of free liquor, hulalula dances,sorcery, gambling, gin, opium, and lotteries, and personal government; the other in favor of clean, honest, responsible, and economical government. The former may command a majority of votes in the seaport of Honolulu, but the latter is supported by the property-owners, the leaders of industrial enterprises, and by those who support and carry on all the educational, charitable, and religious work in the country.
Statesmen will take such facts into account, as well as the anti-American animus of the reactionary royalist party.
Col. Blount shows a singular hostility to the Portuguese, who form one of the most valuable elements in the islands, the most moral as shown by the reports of the attorney-general and chief justice, and perhaps the most industrious people in the country, and the most easily Americanized. He even goes so far as to say that they ought not to be classed as Europeans.
A colony of these people exists in Jacksonville and Springfield, Ill., where they bear a good character. Their crime, in his eyes, may be their unanimous support of the Provisional Government and their admiration of American institutions.
On the other hand, his account of the native race is surprisingly incorrect and superficial, although ample statistics relating to lands, property, occupations, accounts of native character, etc., were before him. He says the "majority (of the common people) received nothing" in the way of land. The fact was that all heads of families received homesteads, if they applied for them, and the census shows that 10 per cent of the natives, counting women and children, are even now landowners. Between 1850 and 1860 a large proportion, 40 per cent, of the Government land was sold, mainly to natives, at nominal prices, and every effort was made to encourage habits of thrift among them. Many are now living on the rents of their lands. The chiefs died out, leaving no heirs in many cases, and their lands were largely purchased by foreigners.
ON THE KANAKAS.
Of the utter incapacity of the Kanaka for business, his improvidence, instability, fickleness, duplicity, and indolence, Col. Blount must have been informed. Accustomed from time immemorial to absolute despotism, they (the Kanakas) ought not to have been expected to become fit for self-government in one generation. Besides, they have been too much petted and pauperized by the Government and their white friends, to develop habits of self-reliance.
E. g., about one-tenth of the native girls are in boarding schools, three-fourths of whom are supported by benevolent white people, with rather unsatisfactory results.
The revival of heathen superstitions under the late dynasty for a political object, is ignored by the commissioner. It is too true that their capacity and progress have been grossly overrated from various motives. They need to be cared for like children. If intrusted with supreme power, they would soon involve themselves and their white benefactors in a common ruin, as was shown in Kalakaua's reign. If it was left to them, they might abolish segregation of lepers, and vote for the lottery and fiat paper money. Of course there are honorable exceptions. In regard to the decrease of the native population Col. Blount's conclusions differ from those of all those who have made a study of the subject on the islands. The reports of births and deaths during the present year, unfortunately, show a constant decrease. It is generally
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