Saturday, August 03, 2013

"In case the government shall become a despotism the arms of the freeman is the last resort of the people...."


   The Republican press is still harping on the subject of the Hawaiian policy with a great deal of rancor, and the endeavor is still being made to have the people believe that President Cleveland has committed an unpardonable sin by attempting to act justly with a monarchy. They still cry out about setting up of a "dusky queen," about people oppressed by a monarchy and desirous of freedom, and they say that President Cleveland did not show sufficient desire for republican liberty on the islands.

   Leaving aside the question as to the justice of this government being a party to the overthrow of another government and then refusing to right the wrong, and the further question as to whether the Hawaiian islands are now being governed in the form of a republic in view of the fact that a majority of the men who constitute the government are foreigners, owing allegiance to other nations, and holding office under laws which disfranchise five-sixths of the people and absolutely muzzle the press, it appears rather strange that the Republican papers have not been saying something about the pet king of uncle Benjamin Harrison.

   Recent events have made only more emphatic the argument of Senator Mills* on this subject immediately after the recent tinpot revolution in the Hawaiian islands. Those who shudder at "the dusky queen" and howl about the right of a people to govern themselves will be struck with an absolute chill if they but allow themselves to consider for a moment the present condition of affairs in far off Samoa, that little Malayan island in the South Pacific ocean. Here the great Benjamin who trembles at the thought of the Hawaiian queen, joined with England and Germany in forcing upon the ignorant people a king whom they did not want and would not have until they were forced to accept him by the bayonets of the three great powers that had descended upon them in their weakness. No right of the people to govern themselves--a right that should be accorded to even the most ignorant tribes--was given. They were not asked, any more than the natives of Hawaii have been asked, what their wishes were.

   They were simply told that they must do as ordered. Then their chosen ruler was placed in Jail and the new king was put on the throne As Senator Mills said:

   "He (Mataafa the old king) was sent off to the Marshall islands, belonging to Germany. He is there in prison today and has been for years, with the waves of the ocean breaking around him in that desolate isle, with no earthly prospect of getting back to the land of his nativity and the people for whom he has been destroyed, for whose liberties and rights he is suffering imprisonment, guarded by American bayonets and the expense of his incarceration paid out of the pockets of the hard working people of the United States."

   The treaty which is keeping in power the present king of Samoa was negotiated by Harrison through Phelps in Germany and  by it the territory of the people there is partitioned out among the three powers to the treaty as cold-bloodedly as was the territory of Poland parceled out to Russia, Austria and Prussia. Further, the treaty provides that Maletoa shall be king until the three powers decide otherwise. Absolutely no provision is made for an exercise of the will of the people of the islands. If there is any dissension among the three powers that have ruthlessly trodden a helpless people under foot, then the appeal must be taken to the King of Sweden, as much interested as either Germany or England in keeping up the pomp of a monarchy. Everything is done by the powers. The people of the islands are forbidden even to sell their lands. The only right that is given them is the right to lease them for forty years.

   This government has pursued a shameless policy to the Indians of this country. They have trodden them down in the march of civilization and practiced upon them barbarities that darken the history of the country. Yet they have never gone to such extremes even with the Indians as the concocting brains of the heads of two monarchies and a republic have gone in making up a scheme to rob the people of the Samoan islands of the right to govern themselves. Senator Mills said further:

   "This Republican treaty also imposes taxes on those people. I have always understood that of all the powers of government the power to take the property of the citizen is the greatest power that can be given. It is the greatest power to be intrusted, it is the power most liable to abuse, the power most frequently abused; and yet they do not consult those poor people about the taxes they are to pay to this republic. But this royal Republican treaty of Samoa lays down all sort of taxes there and among them import and export duties. I do not know how any American Republican ever got it into his head that an export duty was a republican tax; how that came out of the civilization of the United States, when in the very constitution of our country we have said that no export duty shall be levied at all.

   "But they have got beyond this country. They were away down 10,000 miles in the Pacific ocean establishing a royal republic  with the aid of Germany and Great Britain and there they imposed export duties and import duties and capitation taxes, taxes on boats, taxes on colored plantation laborers, taxes on firearms, taxes on dwelling houses, special taxes on stores, occasional taxes, license taxes, all sorts of taxes, and when the whole land is torn and blasted by this abuse of taxation, to guard against an uprising of the people of Samoa they disarmed them and in this Republican treaty they declare that no arms shall be imported into Samoa nor shall any man sell to a native Samoan a gun. They disarmed them. What says the constitution of the United States to this magnificent treaty? What did your fathers say when the Constitution was framed in 1787? A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

   "It is useless to talk about keeping a people free when they cannot use the jewelry of freedom, when they cannot fight force with force, when they cannot plead their cause on the battlefield with gunpowder and bayonets. Our fathers secured to us the right to keep and bear arms so that no power in the Union can take it from us. In case the government shall become a despotism the arms of the freeman is the last resort of the people for the preservation of their liberties. They have said that no power shall disarm the people of the United States and yet in this republic of Samoa a Republican administration in combination with the two most powerful monarchies of the world stood by and aided in the disarming of those poor defenseless people."

   As to the secret reasons for this American interference in the affairs of Samoa, they appear to be the same as those which move upon the assailants of the administration because of failure to listen to their clamors for American absorption of Hawaii. Mr. Mills thus put the matter before the Senate"

   "All for sugar, My President. This treaty when tested by the polariscope, will show 96 degrees of saccharine strength. And so with this affair the Hawaiian islands. Let me show what has been paraded for the delectation of the American people about the Hawaiian islands. Forty corporations with a capital stock of $28,400,990, American ownership $22,459,610, native Hawaiian $266,250. The American percent of all these corporations 74.17; British 18.11; German 6.2; and native Hawaiian .8 of 1 per cent."
[The Salt Lake Herald, Salt Lake City, Utah, Monday, February 18, 1895. Number 257 Pg. 4]
* - Senator Roger Quarles Mills, March 30, 1832 - Sept. 2, 1911, was an American lawyer and politician. He served in the U.S. Congress, as a representative of Texas, and later as a senator. Mills became the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means of the 50th Congress. Mills had gained a reputation as a man that refused to make deals. Mills was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1892 and continued to serve in that post until 1899.

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