Commentary on annexation from a hundred and fifty years ago. 1869.

A few Independent Thoughts on Annexation.

To the Editor—Sir:—As the laws of debate require, and your liberal principles allow each side to be heard, I submit the following lines to the public.

In all speculative propositions, it is necessary to examine their basis, that a predisposing bias may not violate truth.

The peril of the native race, though so obvious on the face of the question, has really no practical place in the gratuitous schemes afloat, whose abettors are satisfied that the race is dying out; though about double the number remains of that of the Samoan group, alive with the agency of a large vigorous mission, unsmitten by the blight of Mammon—while the practice proposed here, with apparently no opposition, is to lose the Samaritan in the strategist, and end all native ailments by summarily sacrificing the patients to the ravenous maw of unscrupulous ambition! The beginning, progress and end of these schemes are all foreign, and, honestly viewed, in direct antagonism with the characteristics, situation and wants of the native race, whose capabilities are only suited to the country in which they are found, and only adapted to increased progress on their own basis.

There is no reason why religion, and every real good should not be attainable in the country and village life. The city, and the least, and acknowledged wen of society which may be essential to the foreigner’s acquisitiveness, becomes the speedy sepulchre of the aborigines. It teaches them the vicious lesson, that money is the primary end and object of life; that nothing is valued where it is not possessed; that it is the fulcrum of every desirable attainment; while the fact remains, that all the native could ever attain must quickly change hands, with wiser heads and his own passions. Even now we are told by one of the foreign senators, that those employed on the plantations are never out of debt—a result, he added, aimed at by planters.

While the annexation scheme may be appropriate to foreign interests, forced into being by speculators out of their right place, what has it to indemnify this simple and confiding race for the loss of their peaceful and even life among their hills and vallies but a little trite sentimental favor to an escaped remnant—as an isolated rock proposed, and some cold charity when gathered there!

The successive inundations of foreigners of every class and character is rendered a redeeming necessity, to sustain immense speculations which require the authorities to uphold, which have always, been willing to meet the public voice in aiding plans for the affirmed public good; though often rewarded by the reverse action of cynical and censorious spirits, who could never be satisfied with any concessions short of absolute rule—men who have not obeyed the great Master’s command, “to pull the beam out of their eye,” which incapacitates from a right and true judgement.

There are probably as many foreigners from all nations residing here as Americans, or more; have they no claim to be consulted or heard, when they resist the infliction of the enormous American war tax, barely endurable by the people of the States? or is it to be thrust on this ignorant and weak people, to reveal itself, like Samson’s shorn hair, when he found himself bound by the Philistines?

There can be no question that the position of these islands renders the American claim to them paramount to all others, if they must be occupied by a foreign power; but when all other powers have consented to forego and disown such claim on condition of a general treaty of neutrality and friendship being agreed to by all, how can the ceaseless cry of annexation be continually raised on these shores and elsewhere, but in defiance of every pretense to equity, morality, or decency?

There is an utter absence of delicacy, known only to civilized people, in going before a weak nation in obtruding the question upon it, which has itself made “no sign” of desire, and still more in making one of construction for it! altogether amounting to a mendicity, repulsive to every sense of moral propriety, as exhibited in certain noisy, voracious annexators—some of their culminations amounting to threats of physical force!

When the first unassuming men came here fifty years ago, they were loaded with favors and lands—they little deeming at the time that the new association would constitute the medium of their countrymen making a claim to possession of the whole, urged on the ground of native progress and interests! We are told that the people would be raised to a higher level for the action of religious and moral agencies and influences—viz. if any escape the crush of the transition! The doctrine is emphatically this—”let us do evil, that a fraction of possible ideal good may come!” A permanent war-ship is among the generated wants, (and, of course others must come to checkmate it,) to wait any lache in politics. Is this evil, even superficially weighed in its effect, in a small harbor, and population drawn from the surrounding country, of the “pestilence which walketh in darkness, and wasteth at noon day?

It may be reasonably enquired, where is the Christian and manly protest, at any rate, dissent, uttered by young or old, of the moral regenerators of former times, whose stringency was the construed excessive in every trivial point of morality—such as occasional smoking, or taking “a glass of wine for the stomach’s sake, or often infirmities,” or as our Savior did in social life. Where is all this scrupulosity gone, which did battle sternly for shadows, when an overwhelming flood of realities threatens? or, does silence give it emphatic consent? or the twattle of logic in their descendants, striving to shroud the plain truth in palpable darkness?

“Remember,” says Beecher, “that your conscience is not a sure guide—it is liable to be perverted by bad company—conscience, with selfishness and pride, is infernal—it must keep company with Christian emotions and sentiments to be right.”

The uniform gravitating tendency to possession, of missions—against their first principles, through the union of politics with religion, of which there are plenty of secular men to take care of, has caught the eagle native eye in other parts, and scandalized the sacred cause. The following little graphic piece is worth perusal:

Naboth had a vineyard, and Ahab said to him, “Give me they vineyard that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near to my house;” and Naboth said, “God forbid that I should give thee the inheritance of my fathers;” and Jezebel said, “Dost thou govern Israel? I will give thee the vineyard”—and she directed a fast, and to exalt Naboth, and to suborn two false witnesses to swear that Naboth blasphemed God and the King—and they stoned him to death! Here religion was the cover, and law the instrument:—and how many artificial suits with no better plea have succeeded by equally fictitious means? Many a sanguinary hero would spare a single Naboth, whose scruples would cease when a nation of Naboths were in his way.


(Pacific Commercial Advertiser, 1/2/1869, p. 3)


The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, Volume XIII, Number 27, Page 3. January 2, 1869.


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