Critique of the immigration policy, 1869.

The Hawaiian Coolie Trader, the Bark Maunaloa.

The Bark “Maunaloa” has been fitted out by the Hawaiian Government for a cruise among the various groups of the South Pacific, for the purpose of obtaining coolies for service upon our sugar plantations.

Our next door neighbor, Mr. Damon, in the “Friend” of this month, pronounces his benediction upon the bark, and bids the enterprise God-speed. We can neither say amen to his benediction, nor join with him in wishing the enterprise success.

Our views in regard to the injustice, and bad policy, of the coolie system, (or system of bonded labor, if the latter term is preferred,) have in the present been so fully expressed, as not to require that they be entered upon at length to-day. But as this new phase of the ruinous system is being inaugurated, we will not leave any to suppose that we give silent approval.

It matters little or nothing whether the coolie be a native of the Pacific or a native of China. We believe that the system of coolie labor will ruin any country that adopts it; and that if the resources of our country, or of any country, cannot be developed but by the continuance of this system, that they had better remain undeveloped.

Freedom, intelligence, morality, and religion are the foundations of national no less than individual prosperity and happiness.That the system of labor which this expedition is intended to foster, tends to promote, or build up these, no friend of man has ever claimed.

That the natives of the verdant islands of the South Pacific will any of them leave their homes, their mssionaries, and their chiefs to ship for a term of three or five years service in plantation gangs upon these islands, we very much doubt. That by the shanghae-ing process, by which many of our Chinese population were brought hither, more laborers may be obtained, we think quite possible. That any of the English missionaries of the South Pacific,—the truest friends of the islanders,—will advise their parishoners to leave their quiet homes, and gospel privileges, to emmigrate to a country of different climate and language, for the special benefits of the higher Christianity and more refining civilization of our plantation drill, we are slow to believe.

We shall be sorry not only for the evils that will result to our own community from the ruinous system, but for the effect upon the good name, and high character, that Hawaii has hitherto borne throughout the Pacific, to have the “Maunaloa” return with a company of south sea islanders, who must inevitably be sadly disappointed at the change, when called to face the stern and to them untried requisitions of plantation life.

The expedition can only result in evil, or prove an utter failure. We regret this waste of our public treasure.

(Kuokoa, 2/13/1869, p. 2)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke VIII, Helu 7, Aoao 2. Feberuari 13, 1869.

1 thought on “Critique of the immigration policy, 1869.

  1. Aloha! I love your blog and have shared it many times! I wonder if you have ever come across any reference to a Mauna Loa Boys Home that has been discovered since it’s closure, in a desolate place on the slopes of Mauna Loa? Mahalo for your mana’o!

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