HAWAII has been annexed to the United States, and is now United States territory. Thus a colonial career has been opened in fact, and no doubt will be extended to the Philippines, the Ladrones, Porto Rico, and Cuba. Next a colonial policy will have to be discovered and put into operation. And of what sort shall it be?
We have pointed out how the Roman republic passed over this course, and what resulted. We have seen that Rome started with precisely the same professions as those with which the United States has now started upon its new career.
And we have seen how, from whatever cause it may have been, the Roman republic with its high pretensions of love of liberty for others became the greatest, the most absolute, and most destructive, despotism that ever was on the earth. What will this second great republic now do, upon precisely the same professions, as she proceeds upon a course like that first great republic? These are live and interesting questions just now.
What will be done with Hawaii? How will she now be governed? What will be the basis of representation?
Will Hawaii be made a State, entitled to two senators upon an equality with the State of New York or Pennsylvania? And if so, will that State government and organization be a continuation of what has been in the so-called republic of Hawaii? For everybody knows that the “republic of Hawaii” never was in any true or proper sense a republic. It never was a government of the people by the people: it was a government of the people by a clique. It is well known that those who seized the kingdom of Hawaii and set themselves up there to rule, never dared to submit to the people of Hawaii the question as to what government they would save. This clique knew that they were so hopelessly in the minority, that to submit any question truly to the people would only overwhelmingly defeat themselves. Therefore they admitted to the franchise, only such as they themselves approved, and, being already in power, confirmed themselves in power by a “popular vote”!
That is the government of Hawaii, as it was when it became United States territory. Will that style of government, that sort of a republic, be perpetuated now that Hawaii is a part of the United States? It was contrary to every principle of the Declaration of Independence of the United States. Will it now, under that Declaration, be continued as it was? It was a despotism: will it be continued so? If so, then the pose is already set for spreading a like despotism over all the other island possessions. And if so, then a revolution has already been accomplished: and the United States will no longer for the people; but a government of the people by a self-seeking few of the superior sort for this same self-seeking few of the superior sort. And it will be for these to decide who are, and who are not, “capable of self-government;” and of course all who are not, must be governed by this superior set.
Some words of Abraham Lincoln are worthy to be reprinted in this connection:—
“These arguments that are made, that the inferior race are to be treated with as much allowance as they are capable of enjoying; that as much is to be done for them as their condition will allow—what are these arguments?—They are the arguments that kings have made for enslaving the people in all ages of the world. You will find that all the argument sin favor of kingcraft were of this class; they also bestrode the necks of the people, not that they wanted to do it, but because the people, not that they wanted to do it, but because the people were better off for being ridden.”
Now, I ask in all soberness if all these things, if indulged in, if ratified, if confirmed and endorsed, if taught to our children, and repeated to them, do not tend to rub out the sentiment of liberty in the country, and to transform this government into a government of some other form?
Are we on the verge of the time when, are we crossing the line where, government of the people, by the people, for the people shall have perished entirely from the earth?
This is a time for most careful thinking.
A. T. J.