Page images
[ocr errors]

Percival, of the United States schooner"Dolphin,” “the mischiefmaking man-of-war," arrived at Honolulu. When he learned that a law was in force which, he said, “deprived [the seamen] of an enjoyment they had always been in participation of when they visit this island,” he demanded an interview with Kaahumanu, the queen regent, in order to have it abrogated. Not having been successful in his object, a few days later he returned and said to her, according to the account of Rev. H. Bingham, snapping his fingers and clinching his fists: “Tomorrow I will give my men rum; look out: they will come for women; and if they do not get them, they will fight. My vessel is just like fire.” On the following day, Sunday, the sailors landed in force, attacked and partially wrecked the house of the prime minister, also that of the missionary, and would probably have beaten Mr. Bingham to death had he not been rescued by the natives. The chiefs were thus intimidated. Women were taken off to the ships. And Lieutenant Percival and his men remained three months in the harbor of Honolulu.

In 1838 the Hawaiian government passed a law forbidding the importation of “rum, brandy, gin, ale, and all distilled spirits whatsoever," except in small quantities, with the consent of the governor, for medicinal or mechanical purposes — the home manufacture of distilled spirits had previously been prohibited. But in the following year Captain Laplace of the French frigate "Artémise" arrived, and presented a treaty for the king's signature. Should the king and chiefs refuse to sign this document, Laplace declared in his manifesto, "war will immediately commence, and all the devastations, all the calamities, which may be

. the unhappy but necessary results, will be imputed to themselves alone, and they will also pay the losses which the aggrieved foreigners, in these circumstances, shall have a right to reclaim.' Soon the treaty was signed. Immediately Laplace presented another treaty, one of the articles of which provided that French merchandise, “and particularly wines and brandy, cannot be prohibited, and shall not pay an import duty higher than 5 per cent. ad valorem.This treaty was brought to the king at five o'clock in the afternoon, and he was required to sign it by break

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

fast time the next morning. When the semi-civilized monarch protested against the wrong being done to his country, and pictured the evils that would result therefrom to his people, Laplace replied: "Civilization eat up the savage." This treaty also was signed. A few months latter a vessel belonging to the French consul brought to Honolulu a cargo of liquor and, characteristically enough, a Roman Catholic bishop and two priests, thus helping to establish in the minds of the natives that peculiar connection between “the spiritual” and “the spirituous" which has so often been observed in the dealings of civilized peoples with uncivilized.

The English, too, have contributed their share to "eat up the savage.” Lord Paulet, in command of H. M. S. “Carysfort," arrived in Honolulu in 1843, and, in keeping with other commanders of the time, immediately made out a list of demands. With these Kamehameha III. could not comply, and was obliged, in order to avoid war, to make a provisional cession of his kingdom to the crown of Great Britain. One of the articles of the treaty of cession declared that the laws then existing "shall be in full force so far as natives are concerned,” until the receipt of communications from England. But, in violation of this provision, the law against fornication was soon abolished.

"During the six months previous to its abrogation,” said Mr. Damon, seamen's chaplain at Honolulu, "I am bold to assert that, in proportion to the number of seamen visiting this port, a higher regard for purity and morality did not exist in any port this side Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope. Since the force of the law has been restrained, the tide has changed. .... Boatloads of lewd women have been seen going and returning from vessels which have recently touched at this harbor for supplies. The law is prostrate — the arm of the law is paralyzed—the officers of justice permitted to witness iniquity, but forbidden to arrest the guilty offenders. The most disgusting scenes are to be seen at noonday in the streets of Honolulu and around certain places of resort.

Landsmen as well as seamen have taken advantage of this state of public morals.” I have mentioned a few of the acts of government officials only, when in the employ.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ment of their respective countries. The deeds of injustice done, the outrages committed, the crimes perpetrated by irresponsible seamen, when ten thousand of them annually frequented the islands, and when it was proverbial that "God did not rule west of America," would not bear recital. Foreigners had lent their whole influence, said Malo, who knew whereof he spake, "to make the Hawaiian Islands one great brothel."

Under such a state of things as that which prevailed generally in Hawaii, the diseases of civilization, when first introduced, made sad havoc among the careless children of nature. The pestilence of 1804 has already been mentioned. In 1848–49 measles, whooping cough, diarrhoea, and influenza carried off, it is estimated, more than ten thousand persons. And a few

, years later, in 1853, smallpox caused in eight months 2,485 deaths. To the inevitable evils — lack of care, poor houses, unsuitable clothing, improper food, ignorance of natural law, etc. were added the artificial evils of civilization. These combined burdens were too much for the Hawaiian people to bear, as indeed they would have been too much for any race of human beings. Well might David Malo exclaim: "The kingdom is sick - it is reduced to a skeleton--and is near to death; yea, the whole Hawaiian nation is near to a close."

The evils of civilization, in so far as they have affected the Hawaiian people, have almost invariably been regarded as arising from commerce. This view, however, is very inadequate. Commerce and missions are the two great pioneer forces of civilization. But, while there is much good in each, there is also some evil.

Each has been an instrument of progress and an instrument of decline; each, like the Levitical law, has contained blessings and cursings, bestowing life with one hand and dealing death with the other. But, while the evils of commerce have always been freely acknowledged, those of missions have invariably been ignored. To most missionaries, however, it might well be said : “Physician, heal thyself." The claim is not now made, of course, that the missions in Hawaii have been an evil, nor that they have done more harm than good; but merely that they were by no means an unmixed good; that in certain


respects they have contributed an element toward the decrease of the population. A few instances will make this sufficiently clear. The New England theology was not adapted to the Anglo-Saxon, much less was it suited to the Hawaiian. The civilization which the missionaries thrust upon the Hawaiians was the mongrel offspring of a fossil theology and a laissez-faire economics. And, as might have been expected, the result was disastrous to the simple-minded natives. The missionaries taught them by precept how to lay up treasure in heaven; and the missionaries' children taught them by example how to lay up earthly treasure. Unfortunately, however, while the field of operation in the former case was infinite, in the latter it was exceedingly limited. Hence it resulted that the pupils, ere they had their lessons properly learned, discovered that there was but little opportunity on their own islands to put the two sets of principles into practice, and still continued to hasten with painful rapidity toward the heavenly land.

And as the missionaries' theology and economics were not suited to the needs of the aborigines, neither was their theory of education. In the second quarterly report of the Boarding School at Wailuku, established in 1837 for the education of girls, we read: “The instructors feel that they have great occasion for gratitude to God for his special favors during the term. Near the close of the term the Holy Spirit was graciously sent down upon the seminary. Nearly all the little girls seemed to be more or less convicted of sin, of their ruined condition, and of their need of mercy.' A few weeks afterward nearly all the little girls were seriously ill. Five died — 12 per cent. of the total number in attendance during the year --and many others were obliged to leave school. The educational process of convicting the children of sin seems to have been continued the next year, for according to Dibble, the missionary historian, there were “much seriousness" and " considerable sickness."

During the third year “sickness made more alarming ravages than in any previous year. Five died. Twelve left on account of sickness, of whom a part died, but the greater number recovered.” Dr. Judd, the missionary physician, was then called in ; he recommended less

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


confinement and more exercise in the open air. But Dibble characteristically remarked: “It seems impossible to restrain (the pupils] from rude and romping behavior and to confine them to those exercises deemed more proper for females, without serious injury to health. To acquire at once habits of civilization, according to our notions of it, was evidently attended with great risk.” A pious visitor who saw the boys eat dinner at Lahainaluna Seminary related : "The meal was taken in perfect silencerather a difficult requirement for a Hawaiian, but only the more necessary to be observed from their extremely loquacious habits." Even Ellis, one of the most liberal and broad-minded of missionaries, after giving an account of the games and amusements of the Tahitians, added : “With the exception of one or two, they have all, however, been discontinued, especially among the adults; and the number of those followed by the children is greatly diminished. This is, on no account, matter of regret.” In 1836 the king and fourteen of the high chiefs and chiefesses of Hawaii, in a petition to the A. B. C. F. M. asking for more teachers, said: “These are the teachers whom we would specify: a carpenter, tailor, mason, shoemaker, wheelwright, papermaker, typefounder, agriculturists. ....; cloth manufacturers, and makers of machinery ; and a teacher of the chiefs in what pertains to the land according to the practice of enlightened countries.” Unnecessary to say, the request was not granted, “nor was a compliance deemed of vital importance” by Rev. Dr. Anderson, the foreign secretary of the board. When the Hawaiian people asked bread of their Christian brothers, they were not indeed given a stone, but food which was indigestible. Naturally

they died.

Now it may be asked: What of the future ? Will the "dying out” process continue to the end ? Jarvis in 1843 — and again Anderson in 1863-gave figures and reasons tending to show that the crisis was then past, and that soon the tide of life would return. These anticipations, however, were not realized. Nevertheless, at the present time, there are several circumstances which indicate, as never before, an enlarged and useful future for the Hawaiian people. Most significant is the fact that many of

« PreviousContinue »