Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

PREFACE.

TT7ITHIN the past five years the Hawaiian * * Islands have been a centre of what might almost be termed international interest. From a state of dissension and public distrust — the outgrowth of a semi-barbarous monarchy — it has advanced to a state of intelligent and wholly prosperous selfgovernment.

In this change the native Hawaiian has been an object of much misplaced sympathy on the part of those who know nothing of Hawaiian affairs, or who are, at best, merely superficial and not wholly disinterested observers. With the prosperity that has followed the founding of the Republic — a prosperity in which the natives have been permitted to share — many new laws have been enacted which have conferred upon them increased privileges and a degree of liberty which they have never enjoyed

vii

under any ruler of their own race. This is especially true in the disposition of what were known as Crown lands, which were held by the chiefs and could not be acquired by the common people. Now they are enabled to buy tracts of land freehold; and this alone must prove an incentive to greater effort on their part to fit themselves for the dignity and responsibility of the householder.

It should be explained, as I have endeavoured to show in my Introduction, that the President of the Hawaiian Republic (Mr. Dole), the Attorney-General (Mr. Smith), the Chief Justice (Mr. Judd), and others, who finally approved the abrogation of the monarchy, were all Hawaiian born. Their mothers and fathers had gone out to the Islands in the early days, and had worked strenuously to civilise the people and give the country the government of a civilised nation. It was their country, therefore, as much as it was that of any descendant of the Kamehamehas, and they loved and served it as loyally as any native Hawaiian could have done. All that it possesses to-day of worth, as I have stated repeatedly in this work, is due to their labour and to no other influence. They had faith in the ultimate triumph of enlightenment and justice, and strenuously advocated the presPREFACE. ix

ervation of the autonomy of Hawaii, even through the long and turbulent reign of Kalakaua. When Queen Liliuokalani came to the throne, more perverse than her brother, more determined to restore native rule in its most aggravated form, her subjects lost hope, and realised that there were but two alternatives,— the relapse of the country into the state from which it had so painfully emerged, or the administration of the government by the AngloSaxon, aided by the natives of the better class. This has been brought to pass.

When I visited the Islands first, in 1893, I went prejudiced in favour of the natives, deeply sympathising with them because they had been dispossessed of their lawful possessions. A careful and conscientious study of the situation on the spot led me to change my views absolutely, and I perceived that whatever had been done had been done of necessity and with wisdom and forbearance.

In my account of the political changes that have occurred, I have had occasion to criticise Mr. Cleveland and his personal representative, Mr. Blount, with some severity, and in defence of my statements I will merely say that much that I have written I saw; the rest is a matter of public knowledge, and may be found in a published report of the official inquiry into the case by the United States Senate through its committee of investigation. This is corroborated by State papers recorded and on file in the Government building in Honolulu.

M. H. K.

London, January qtht 1898.

« AnteriorContinuar »