Anna Berry, daughter of Kentucky congressman, speaks on annexation, 1898.

THE INJUSTICE OF ANNEXATION

As Viewed by an American Woman Miss Anna E Berry of Newport—The Kentucky Congressman’s Daughter Writes Entertainingly of the Native Hawaiians—A Petition to the President.

[Among the ladies who accompanied the congressional party to Hawaii in September was Miss Anna Berry, daughter of Congressman Berry of Kentucky, who has written charmingly of the islands. She brought back many souvenirs of her visit, which are to be seen in her Newport home. The best of all is the Royal Hawaiian standard, the flag which was floating over Queen Liliuokalani when she was deposed. It is to be noted that Miss Berry returned to America with a woman’s sense of the injustice of annexation, from the viewpoint of the native Hawaiian, while the men of the party came back a unit for annexation. The Hawaiian minister to whom Miss Berry refers as a descendant of a Kentucky Governor is Rev. Desha, of Hilo. His grandfather was Governor Desha, of Kentucky, and his father was Isaac B. Desha, who committed a sensational murder at Doggett’s Tavern, a well-known inn of early Kentucky days on the Licking River. The murderer was sentenced to death, and saved by his own father’s pardoning power. The case was one of the most remarkable in American criminal history. He fled to Hawaii where one of his half-native sons is a leading Kanaka minister, and the other is a postal employee.—The Editor of the Kentucky Post.

The recent visit of Senator Morgan and four members of the United States House of Representatives to the Hawaiian Islands aroused among the various peoples of the “Paradise of the Pacific” sentiments and feelings as opposite as the poles. There are indeed various peoples in Hawaii—a very scrapbag of a population—the good with the bad. Here Portuguese and Chinese, Japanese and Germans, Americans and natives jostle one another.

Many Americans think of these islands in much the same way as of other islands of the Pacific—that they are inhabited by a race of Cannibals. The people of the Island of Oahu, on which is Honolulu, never were cannibals, and there is much discussion as to whether the population of the other islands of this group ever were.

DESCRIPTION OF HAWAIIANS.

The Hawaiians are possessed of a dark, reddish-brown skin. A large head is firmly set on a full neck and broad shoulders. The forehead is high, well sloped, with projecting brows. The natives have the width across the cheekbones of the other Oceanic races, wide nostrils, straight nose and a thick-lipped mouth which does not lack determination.

Their beautiful, dark, wide-open eyes are wistful, pleading, trustful and full of kindness, true indicators of their character.

They are a happy-go-lucky lot, these “Kanakas.” Their climate is such that hard labor to them is intolerable. There is a fascination about their life. The lofty palms, the cocoanut trees, everywhere such glorious tropical foliage, such quiet restfulness of scene. It is hard to think and struggle.

While we were on the islands there was a meeting of the Hawaiian town of Hilo in the hall of the Salvation Army, to show to the American representatives the Kanaka spirit against annexation. One purpose of the meeting was to sign a petition to the President of the United States, praying him not to annex the islands.

MRS. KUAIHELANI CAMPBELL.

Within this hall were crowded 300 men and women; without were as many more, unable to find standing room. Suddenly there was a silence. The crowd parted and a woman entered—Mrs. Kuaihelani Campbell, President of the Womanʻs Hawaiian Patriotic League.

Her gown was a simple one of black crape, with black hat and gloves, relieved by that typical native decoration, a flower boa about her throat. She was absolutely queenly in her dignity and repose. One could almost imagine her a Joan of Arc in the far away Pacific land.

The meeting was opened with prayer by the native Hawaiian minister, a half white, with the blood of one of Kentucky’s noblest governors flowing in his veins—tall, blond and fair-haired. Even one unfamiliar with his language could not but feel from his earnestness, his eloquence, a bond of sympathy.

THE PRESIDENT’S SPEECH.

Then Mrs. Campbell was presented. She spoke in the following words: “Stand firm, my friends. Love of country means more to you and to me than anything else. Have courage and patience; our time will come. Sign this petition to the President of the great Republic, those of you who love Hawaii, and tell the Americans, who love their liberty, what your feelings are. How many will sign?” In a moment every man and woman held a hand on high. Other speeches were made Translated the speeches of the Kanakas seemed unanimous in opposition to annexation.

The natives fell the United States deprive them of the Queen and helped to place over them a government to which they refuse to take the oath of allegiance. Thus on their native soil they are a disfranchised race.

PETITION BY NATIVES.

The petition to the President of the United States has not been signed, so it is claimed, by almost every native Hawaiian in the islands. Will it have any influence with him? With Congress? With the people? Will they take from a weaker people that which is most dear to their own hearts, and for which they themselves struggled against a stronger power?

Look at the picture: A weak, almost helpless, man is trying to till his farm. His success is not as great as that of his strong, thriving neighbor. The strong man says to the weak one: “You are nothing of a farmer. I am stronger than you, a better farmer, so I shall take your farm, whether you want me to or not.” What would an American jury say to the strong farmer? American people, it is a parallel case. You are the jury. Is it right?—Kentucky Post.

Anna A. Berry.

[Anyone know anything more about the Hawaiian flag reference?

This includes another description of the Hilo Hui Aloha Aina meeting that was published in the San Francisco Call under the title, “Strangling Hands Upon a Nation’s Throat” on 9/30/1897. Berry’s article is very interesting in so many different ways today…]

(Independent, 2/5/1898, p. 1)

THE INJUSTICE OF ANNEXATION

The Independent, Volume VI, Number 808, Page 1. February 5, 1898.

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