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public debt of the islands not to exceed $4,000,000 be assumed, the immigration of the Chinese be prohibited, all treaties with other powers deemed as null, and that all civil, judicial and military powers then existing and exercised by the officers of the government be exercised by the President in such a manner as he should choose to direct, until the United States Congress should provide for a government of the islands. A further provision was also made that a committee of five be appointed by the President, two of whom at least were to be resident Hawaiians, to recommend such legislation to Congress as might be considered advisable.
President McKinley strongly approved of the resolutions as well as the previously proposed treaty, and signed the joint resolution the 7th day of July. The following day the President appointed for a committee Senator Shelby M. Cullom of Illinois, Senator John T. Morgan of Alabama, Representative Robert R. Hitt of Illinois, President Sanford B. Dole of Hawaii, and Justice W.F. Frear of the Supreme Court of Hawaii.
The opposing element in the country objected to the annexation at this time by a "joint resolution” because they thought during war time it was unfavorable for such an important question to be considered intelligently. The opposition also existed because they thought the measure unconstitutional, and declared that annexation by "joint resolution" was without precedent in the United States, without the conferring of statehood. All the debates of Congress were of a high order on this important question. On the other hand those in favor of annexation argued thus: The influence of America was greater in these islands than of any other nation, and for this reason they were protected by the government in regard to the industrial, social and Christian enterprises. If the islands remained as they were, the people would lapse into barbarism because of the silent and frequent invasion of Asiatic people, and it would likely result in all the American property becoming confiscated.
Hawaii is of great commercial importance, situated as it is in the middle of the Pacific. It is a central point for telegraphic cables, and the assertion has been made that the coast of the United States could be better defended in time of war with a smaller navy by this means of communication.
As to the measure being unconstitutional, it was regarded that if Congress has a right to appropriate money to purchase a new territory of land it certainly had the right to accept new territory as a gift.
After Dewey's victory it became necessary to send supplies to him, also other reinforcements, and Hawaii, although a viola
tion of the international laws of neutrality allowed and permitted American vessels to stop at Honolulu for coal and to use that city as a base for war and naval supplies.
It has been claimed that had Hawaii not allowed this the United States in order to follow up Dewey's victory successfully would have been obliged to take Honolulu by force. Hawaii would likely have appealed to all the nations of the world and more trouble ensued with foreign nations, the United States losing what they already had gained and a future possibility of success in the Pacific. The apparently friendly feeling that Hawaii had toward our government changed the public opinion to a great extent, so that when the subject of annexation was again resumed Congress had the support of a vast majority of people.
The members appointed on the committee by the President, in July, met at Honolulu in August and spent several weeks considering the condition of the island, and returned to the United States on October 1.
In the meantime formal ceremonies had taken place transfering the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Republic to the United States. The ceremonies were observed at Honolulu Aug. 12, and the exercises held on the grounds of the executive building. The crowd consisted chiefly of foreign residents. A copy of the Newland resolution was given President Dole by the United States minister, and in return Dole announced the formal cession of the sovereignty and the property of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States minister as the representative of our government. President McKinley's proclamation was then read by the United States minister, proclaiming that the government administration be carried on by the same officers and in the same manner as heretofore.
Following this came the administering of the oath of allegiance to the President and his Cabinet and the National Guards were sworn in. Some of the natives meanwhile had shown some objection. They called a mass meeting on Sept. 12, and declared that the islands could not be annexed without the consent of the Hawaiian people or their representatives and endeavored to restore the former state of affairs.
Just before the annexation took place the Hawaiian government paid the sum of $75,000 as an indemnity for damages sustained by the Japanese laborers being excluded from the islands. The plan proposed by the committee as to the government in Hawaii seems to combine the form of a state and territorial government in the United States. The United States President has the right of appointing a Governor, Secretary, District Judge, District Attorney and Marshal of Hawaii, while the appointed
Governor has the power to appoint all the other officers necessary in the government of the newly acquired territory, with the consent of the Senate.
A representative government is to continue on the same basis in Hawaii, with a Senate and House of Representatives. The requirement is still made that every voter must be of full age, able to speak, read and write either English or Hawaiian, and the same property qualifications for Senators and Representatives is retained.
The United States laws and its constitution are extended over Hawaii of course, and the question of Chinese immigration will be settled as the constitution and laws come into operation. Congress in the meantime has taken action to immediately exclude Chinese immigrants, it having been decided that the United States law in regard to that matter should apply at once. The form of goverộment designed and drafted for Hawaii stands in abeyance. It is a republic within a republic, with President Dole and his cabinet still in the exercise of their official functions.
The 55th Congress which expired March 4th, 1899, failed to establish a definite government. Both the House bill and the Senate bill provided for a delegate in Congress for Hawaii, but much opposition arose from both political parties, and the opponents of the measure insisted that a declaration should be inserted so that nothing contained in it should be regarded as implying the future admission of Hawaii as a state, and resisting the admission of a delegate, which would be regarded as an initial step toward statehood. A form of local government continued until Congress provided a permanent set of laws for the islands, which were passed during the first session of the 56th Congress, and will be found on page 133.
LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION The Hawaiian Islands, which were annexed to the United States in August, 1898, are a rich group of islands, situated in the Pacific ocean about two thousand miles from San Francisco in latitude 19 degrees to 22 degrees north, and longitude 155 degrees to 160 degrees west. They consist of eight large islands and several uninhabited, rocky islets, all of which cover an area of about 6.640 square miles. Their names are: Hawaii (formerly called Owhyhee), Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Kauai, Niihau, Lanai and Kahulawe. The entire chain has been thrown up by volcanic action, and on Hawaii, the largest of the islands, are some of the largest active volcanoes in the world. The two highest mountains of Hawaii are Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, each of which is over 13,800 feet high, and about 1,800 feet less than the highest peaks of the Alps mountains in Switzerland.
The voicano Kilauea is remarkable for its immense crater, which is nine miles in circumference and a thousand feet in depth. The whole island of Hawaii is traversed by mountains, many being on the coast, forming precipices 1,000 to 3,000 feet in height.
In fact, the islands are all of a mountainous character, some of the summits attaining an altitude of 4,000 to 5,000 feet. Some of the very smallest islets are on an average 4,000 feet above the sea level. These group of islands are about midway between California in North America, and Melbourne, Australia, and make a convenient station for all vessels when crossing and recrossing the Pacific.
From 1856 to 1859 the volcano Kilauea was in eruption constantly, making a sublime spectacle, especially at night. Occasionally a river of lava would burst forth, and at one time a small village, inhabited chiefly by fishermen, was destroyed by one of these outbursting streams.
The largest crater known is on Maui and has a circumference of 30 miles and is about 3,000 feet deep. Within this immense basin are includeu about 15 craters of ancient volcanoes, the ridges forming concentric circles. Along the coasts of the islands are many coral reefs in single and double ridges. The shores are naturally sandy; back of these are rich pasture lands and among the highlands productive valleys are often found.
The name Sandwich Islands is not found in the laws or the constitution of the islands. The island of Hawaii is 300 miles in circumference and twice as large as all the others together. It is triangular in shape, one hundred miles from north to south and eighty miles wide. The interior consists of a table-land over eight thousand feet above the sea level, and is thickly covered with ashes and lava. Many places are overgrown with the paper mulberry trees. The slope from this tableland is toward the sea and is a gradual decline. Along the coasts dense forests of the acacia grow and the natives construct their canoes from these trees. These forests grow over a bed of lava. The region of Byron Bay is thickly inhabited and the land is well cultivated. To the south is an extensive lava desert extending over an area of forty miles, which is not cultivated. On the eastern shore is Byron Bay, which has the best harbor.
It was in the Kealakehua harbor on the western coast that Cook was killed. Northwest of Hawaii lies the island of Maui. They are separated from each other by a strait twenty miles wide. This island is forty-eight miles long and twenty-nine wide. It consists of two elevations of rock surrounded by a narrow tract of lowland and connected by a low sandy isthmus. The larger
portion of this island is 10,000 feet high, and is not cultivated. The other portion consists of a fine stretch of land.
The island of Kauai is 33 miles long, 28 miles broad and is a mountainous mass sloping in all directions toward the sea. The coast is high. The valleys of this island consist of fertile soil and are well cultivated.
The island of Oahu is 46 miles long and 23 miles wide, and excells the other islands of this group in its quantity of cultivated land, extensive commerce with foreign countries and in population. The whole island is traversed by a mountain range which terminates in the southwest in a hill 400 feet high, and called Diamond Point. In the northwest is a plain called the plain of Eva which is fertile but not much cultivated. The soil of this island also rests on a lava bed. There is also on this island the plain of Honolulu, which is the capital.
Molokai island rises 5,000 feet above the sea and the sides are covered with trees. This island is 40 miles long and but seven miles wide. There are fertile tracts of land along the shore.
Kahulawe, another island composed of lava, is 11 miles long and eight miles wide. A coarse grass grows on the soil here. Lanai is west of Maui and is a mass of rocks thrown up by volcanic action. This island is about 17 miles long. It has but few inhabitants. The most western island is Milias. It is about 20 miles long and seven wide. Salt is the only mineral found in large quantities on these islands. There is a large salt lake in the island of Oahu from which a large quantity is taken. The inhabitants of this group are expert in swimming and are good horsemen and fishermen.
POPULATION. The population is about 109,020, one-third being natives and the other two-thirds Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese. The number of Americans probably does not exceed 3,000.
Out of the total population there is a school population between the ages of six and 15 inclusive of 7,694 males and 6,592 females. About one-third of these are natives. The capital, Honolulu, has a population of 30,000. The second city in size is Hildo.
PEOPLE. The natives are brown and belong to the Malay race. They are intelligent, brave and fond of liberty. They have a good system of public schools and nearly every one can read and write. They are abandoning their native tongue and using English. They are Christians, having been taught by the white people. The native government was a monarchy, sometimes absolute and at other times limited.