Center for Labor Education & Research, University of Hawaii - West Oahu: Honolulu Record Digitization Project

Honolulu Record, Volume 10 No. 19, Thursday, December 5, 1957 p. 4


Prince Kuhio's Hushed Documents Reveal Sugar Planters Here In Conspiracies
For land Grabs History From Official Files

(Last year, when Hawaii's Delegate John A. Burns complained to Secretary of Interior Fred Sea-ton that then Governor Sam King was thwarting the will of the people of Hawaii by his veto of the tax bill, Burns' critics threw up their hands in horror: It was not right for the Delegate to complain about the Governor, they said. Who'd ever heard of such a thing?

"But Delegate Burns stood on firm ground historically as in other respects. Back in 1911, Hawaii's Delegate, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, filed a vigorous complaint against Governor Walter F. Frear, charging the Governor was defeating the purpose of homesteading provisions of the land law and throwing his weight, and the land, to the sugar plantations.

Delegate Kuhio, like Burns, filed his complaint with the Secretary of the Interior, and Governor Frear also filed a lengthy reply to the charges. Then, as last year, the issue was land, but then it was homesteading while last year it was the issue of raising the tax ceiling on real estate.

The RECORD publishes this account Of Prince Kuhio's complaint and Governor Frear's reply as a bit of Hawaii's political history, and as a commentary on the position the sugar plantations have played in that history.

Today, if you ask around Honokaa and other sections of the Territory when the homesteading began (not HHC homesteading) you will get the answer that it all started about 1912 and 1913. Pew today remember what came before the loosening up of the lands.

But some readers of Hawaiian history give much credit to the fight put up by Hawaii's Delegate to Congress, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, against the reappointment to. a second term of Governor Walter P. Frear. That fight came in 1911 and started with a complaint with specific charges filed by Prince Jonah against the Governor.

In his inauguration speech, delivered four years earlier, April 15, 1907, Governor Frear had sounded as though he were going to encourage the use of the homesteading provisions which had existed for some years already.

Rosy Promises

"The policies of small landed proprietorships and diversified industries," he had said, "are not necessarily antagonistic to the prosperity of the sugar industry ... They (the sugar interests) need the small settler as much as he needs them . . . The lands most suitable for homesteading, whether cane or other lands, should be the first to be utilized for that purpose ... It may yet, in the natural course of events, prove to be to the advantage of the sugar planters to have their operations confined to central factories, and their lands, whether now held under lease or in fee, subdivided and sold to settlers." '

Those had been the words of Governor Frear four years earlier, and they must have raised high hopes in the breasts of the many who were clamoring for land — mostly Hawaiians and Portuguese, as the governor also observed in his speech.

Now, Prince Kuhio told the Congress and the U.S., those words had a false ring since of the 34,000 acres under sugar cultivation, "NOT ONE ACRE OF THAT LAND HAS BEEN APPLIED TO HOMESTEADING PURPOSES — NOT ONE FAMILY HAS BEEN PLACED UPON ANY PORTION OF THAT VAST DOMAIN."

The Delegate used big type for that line to emphasize his point. In the next line, he admitted that considerable areas had been opened to homesteading — in areas the sugar plantations didn't want and couldn't use, anyhow.

Tied to Corporations

The governor had failed to make good on his promise to such an extent, Prince Kuhio argued, and had let the sugar plantations get away with such land-holding and land-grabbing that the treatment of the people of Hawaii might become a national issue.

Why had Governor Frear acted this way? Kuhio had the answer for that one, too. One of his points of objection to the governor was:

“His close affiliation with the corporate interests” of the Islands, induced and existing largely through matrimonial and social ties, whereby his administration is conducted upon lines calculated to favor and promote the still further concentration of land, wealth and power in the hands of a few individuals, operating in most instances, under corporate forms."

(It is amusing to note in Governor Frear's reply, which, came early in 1912, the governor did not disclaim being dominated by sugar, but charged that Prince Jonah was, himself, dominated by the sugar interests and that his secretary's salary, higher than that of the Delegate, was being paid by the sugar planters. The Delegate's secretary was the real ambassador of "King Sugar" at Washington, said Frear.)

Prince Jonah told how a group of applicants, "a superior class of citizens—Hawaiians and Americans, and including one physician, one Territorial Senator and former manager of a plantation, several cattlemen and three teachers" applied for l,000 acres of land leased to the Hutchinson Sugar Plantation, on which the lease was expiring. Instead of granting the applications, said Prince Jonah, George R. Carter, then governor, opposed them even in the courts.

And while the litigation was in process, the plantation was highly active trying to get the members of the homesteaders' group, called the "Thompson Settlement Assn.," to withdraw their applications, which were individually for the maximum acreage allowed at that time, 100 acres. If the members of the group could be reduced below six, the association would cease to be a legal applying body.

Coercion by Boss

"To this end," wrote Prince Jonah," the German manager of the plantation summoned to his office one of the Hawaiian members, who spoke and read no English, and urged him to withdraw from the association, and to sign a paper purporting to be such resignation. Upon the Hawaiian's refusal, the manager forcibly detained him at the office, much of the time under lock and key, for about six hours, in continued effort to force his compliance, but without success."

That was only the most spectacular effort at intimidation of the applicants, Prince Jonah said. The three teachers and a warehouse agent at a neighboring port, all government employes, were told they were "placing themselves in opposition to the government," and frightened into resigning.

Later they resumed their memberships after the member who was also a senator stiffened their spines. After long litigation, much of it during Frear's term, the homesteaders went on the land, finally affecting a compromise which gave them from 40 to 50 acres each, but to date, said Prince Jonah, Frear's administration had not acted on the applications, even though the law had been complied with in every respect.

The sole allegation made against the homesteaders by plantation and government officials, said Prince Jonah, was the "suspicion that they might be speculators."

Bosses Switch

In the meantime, said the delegate, "The plantation concerned has adopted a different policy toward the homesteaders, viz: that of supporting their claims for the issuance of patents, upon the condition that the homesteaders will first -agree to sell their holdings to the plantation, at figures set by the latter."
So if the applicants weren't speculators, the plantation was going to make speculators out of them. Prince Jonah says he believes, along with most of the public in Hawaii, that the patents would have been issued if the homesteaders had agreed to this, plantation proposal.

That, in substance, was the story of every group of homesteaders who applied for plantation-leased land, or land the plantations might want, according to Prince Jonah's complaint.

Governor Frear added a new obstacle of his own, the delegate charged, that was not contained in the land law at all. When an attorney representing the Aloha Aina Settlement Assn. tried to make application for 1,300 acres of land in Wood Valley, on the Big Island, situated in the Pahala Plantation, "the then Commissioner of Public Lands, Mr. Marston Campbell, violently and profanely declared to the attorney for the association that they were all a lot of 'frauds,' 'blackmailers,' 'speculators,' etc., and that the administration would have nothing to do with settlement associations, nor with any other project for taking up government lands, except under a scheme evolved by Governor Frear, himself . . . which is locally called the 'Ten Year Agreement.'"

The agreement would require the homesteader to wait 10, years instead of two, to get title to the land he had applied for and was homesteading, and it also provided that the land be parceled out in bits to the homesteader instead of being given to him all at once.

Pahala Plantation, too, began to smell danger, says Prince Jonah, but the activity was a bit different. The plantation was using the stream of water in Wood Valley to pass sugar cane by flume to its mill. Now it was applying to the Territory for a 30 years lease of the right-of-way 20 ft. wide wherever the flume ran. And without that stream, homesteading in the valley would be almost impossible, Prince Jonah said.

Yet for all Governor Frear's fine, words at his inauguration, his administration was processing the Pahala Plantation's application without objection.

Helping Company Stores

There was another twist of the rope at Hakalau, wrote Prince Jonah, showing how the administration attempted to keep the plantation stores free from competitors. The Territory's land department, said the delegate, "in opening certain lands at or near Hakalau . . . has reserved all the most valuable lots situated upon or near the main government roads, in order to prevent the setting upon such lots of stores that will come in competition with plantation, stores."

Prince Jonah commented, "In this connection, I charge the-Governor with deliberately attempting-and planning to prevent the acquisition by American farmers and others of such liberal sized tracts "of government land as will enable them to make a living from the soil for themselves and their families; and I further charge that it is his purpose, where he may be compelled to assign homesteads at all upon lands within or adjacent to plantations, they shall be so small in area as to insure the poverty of those who settle upon them, coupled with the necessity of the homesteaders to sell their surplus labor to the neighboring plantations, and the areas allotted, or to be allotted have been, and will be so small that the homesteader will hate much surplus labor to sell."

(More of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole's complaint next week and Governor" Frear's reply.)

p /> I do not say that at odd hours a patient must be given the regular hot dinner or supper. Few people would expect this.
But what is so complicated about opening and heating a can of soup, making some toast, or preparing instant coffee or tea? Why cannot a night nurse do these simple things after the kitchen to closed? Is it just too much trouble?

It is only common humanity to feed the hungry. If our hospitals are too big, too complex, too impersonal to do these small kindnesses for the sick, something is very wrong.