to New Zealand and Australia from Vancouver. That port also stands directly in the track of the commerce that will flow through the Nicaragua Canal when that great commercial need is completed. Indeed, in that coming day the enchanting coral, reef-locked harbor of Honolulu will hardly suffice to take in the ships that will put in there.
The interests in the group are mainly American, or substantially connected commercially with the United States. In the palmy days of the whale fishery the ports of Honolulu and Lahaina used to be packed at certain seasons of the year with the ships of that great and adventurous industry.
The advent of our missionaries at the islands in 1820, and the excellent work they did there, won the hearts of the natives and increased American influence. The treaty of reciprocity made with King Kalakaua in 1875 welded in closest bonds the ties of friendship and trade, and gave to the group its present wealth and prosperity.
The group now seeks annexation to the United States; the consummation of such wish would inure to the benefit of both peoples, commercially and politically. Annex the islands, constitute them a territory, and reciprocal trade will double within ten years. Let the islanders feel that they are once and forever under the folds of the American flag, as part and parcel of the great Republic, and a development will take place in the group that will at once surprise its people and the world.
Not to take the fruit within our grasp and annex the group now begging us to take it in would be folly indeed—a mistake of the gravest character, both for the statesmen of the day and for the men among us of high commercial aims and great enterprises.
Our statesmen should act in this matter in the spirit and resolve that secured to us the vast Louisiana purchase, the annexation of Texas, and the acquisition of California. The administration that secures to the United States the " coign of vantage" in the possession of those beautiful islands will score a great measure of beneficent achievement to the credit side of its account.
But in the path of annexation England will throw down the gauntlet of protest and obstruction. To that end she will bend all the powers of her diplomacy; all the cunning of her foreign-office procedures; all the energy, unwearied effort, and unvarying constancy that has ever made her secretly hostile in her diplomatic methods and commercial policies to the welfare, growth, and advancement of the United States.
She wants to gather the group under her own control; she would like to Egyptianize that vital point in the Pacific; she burns to establish a Pacific Bermuda off our Western coast, to hold the same relation toward the ports of Esquimalt and Victoria on Vancouver Island that Bermuda bears toward Halifax, all strongly fortified, connected by cable with Downing street, and stored with munitions of war.
Let the British lion once get its paw upon the group and Honolulu would soon become one of the most important strongholds of Great Britain's power. With her fortified port of Esquimalt dominating the entrance to Puget Sound, constituting an ever-standing menace to our domain in that region, she wants to supplement such commanding advantage by another stronghold at Hawaii, where, within six days' easy steaming from San Francisco, she could immediately threaten that port with one of her fleets in the event of the sudden outbreak of war.
Great Britain will undoubtedly propose a joint arrangement for the government of the islands, but we want none of that—no entangling alliances. We have had enough of such business at Samoa.