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THE COURSE OF EMPIRE

THE COURSE OF EMPIRE

CHAPTER I

THE ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE

I

seems to me absurd for the Senator from California and the other advocates of the annexation of the Hawaiian

Islands to assert upon this floor that the prevailing opinion concerning the character of the people who inhabit those islands is founded on ignorance. The allegation of a lack of information is generally made by Impudence in its effort "to make the worse appear the better reason.” Probably the Americans and other white people who have emigrated to the islands are very good people; they are certainly smart and shifty, aggressive, bright, and prosperous. They went there to convert the savages to Christianity.

The first of them was the distinguished Captain Cook. Cook seems to have belonged to the church militant. He had quarreled with everybody in England whom he had anything to do with and went to sea because he could not live any longer on land. He cruised around a good deal, converting people more or less to his way of thinking, and when he struck the Sandwich Islands immediately put in operation his reformatory methods. One of his yawls drifted away from the ship in the night and one of the barbarians picked it up. Captain Cook immediately concluded that the island was inhabited only by thieves, and in order to cure that propensity he immediately stole the king, thus establishing a distinguished precedent for the method adopted by our late minister resident, John L. Stevens. Cook led a body of marines ashore, 1. Speech in the Senate July 2, 1894.

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