ABC (Madrid, Spain), 28 February 1907 (translation)
A great number of emigrants, all from this province (Málaga) await the arrival of the steamship that is to take them to the Hawaiian Islands. For this reason the docks present a most depressing spectacle. People are speaking mournfully about the constant bustle of emigration that can be observed in these ports.
TO BEAT JAPAN IN COLONIZATION SCHEME: Andalusian Emigrants Being Sent to Hawaiian Islands
Geneva Daily Times and Courier, March 8, 1907
Madrid, Spain, March 8. –In the sailing today of the steamer Heliopolis from Malaga with 2,000 Andalusian emigrants bound for Hawaii is revealed, according to a general belief here, a plan of the United States to checkmate Japan in her apparent scheme of colonizing the Hawaiian islands with Japanese.
The 2,000 Andalusians shipped today for the islands are only the advance guard of migrants who will be sent to the islands. Other shippings have already been arranged for.
Washington authorities are encouraging this emigration with the hope of filling the islands with white settlers.
SPANIARDS OFF TO THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS
ABC (Madrid, Spain), 8 March 1907 (translated)
The Heliopolis, a magnificent 10,000 ton steamship has entered the port of Malaga. Preparations are being made to embark 700 families that will emigrate to the Hawaiian Islands. The docks are thronged with people, as there are 2,000 Andalusians making the voyage. The docks are the site of many emotional scenes, between those who are embarking and those friends and family members who are staying behind. The ship has excellent accommodations, and has purchased enormous quantities of provisions, including 6,000 arrobas of wine. The cost of the expedition is 200,000 duros.
THE HUMAN SCATTERING: MODERN DAY INDIES
The following telegrams will undoubtedly form a deep impression on the souls of our readers.
El Imparcial (Madrid) 8 March 1907 (translation)
Malaga 7 (3,30 tarde)
The beautiful 10-ton transatlantic steamship Heliopolis has just arrived to this port from England. It has been commissioned by the government of the Islands of Hawaii at a cost of $200,000, to transport to that archipelago one thousand emigrants from the provinces of Malaga, Granada, Jaén and Almería.
The government that has hired them offers free pasage, a house valued at 500 dolars, an acre of land, firewood, medical attention and medicines. In addition, during the first year they will receive a monthly salary of 20 gold pesos (men) and 15 gold pesos (women, and youth older than 15). These salaries will be doubled in the second year and tripled in the third year, at which point they will become the owners of their house and land, provided that they have shown good conduct and are willing to change nationality. The expedition is being undertaken under the direct supervision of the delegate of the Hawaiian government, Mr. Frezer.
The emigrants who have signed up are approximately 700 families, whose members have had to get vaccinated; those sick have been declared ineligible.
[…] This emigration of seven hundred families is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The US, which exercises a kind of stewardship over those islands, wants to combat the increase of Chinese and Japanese settlers, opposing to the yellow population a white population. And among the men of Caucasian race, the Spaniards are chosen, and of the Spaniards, the Andalusians in particular; those people who, here in Spain, are thought of as being dreamers, more inclined to muslim stillness than to the rigors of hard work. And they are being sought not only as settlers, but also as citizens, obliged, after three years, to naturalize.
This should not infuriate us. After all, these seven hundred families, chased away by the hunger they suffer here, flee from our territory, and they are severed forever from our nation, as if they had been amputated in one swift stroke, as soon as the Heliopolis departed the port of Malaga. […]
[…] Meanwhile, the peasants and workers flee from Spain, and make lives for themselves in all different nations, they arrive to the most remote countries, and in every latitude and amidst all kinds of temperatures they tenaciously produce wealth. Yesterday, we dilapidated an entire colonial empire; today we dilapidate the rare blood that still flows through the veins of the race.
DISASTROUS EMIGRATION: TO THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS
Correspondencia de España, 9 March 1907 (translation)
Malaga 8. Today the embarkation will be completed of the emigrants who are traveling to the Hawaiian Islands aboard the steamship Heliopolis The Heliopolis will lift anchor and depart this afternoon for those islands. According the the ship’s manifest, there are 850 families aboard the steamship, for a total of 3,823 emigrants. They are from the various provinces of Andalucía.
Public opinion is opposed to this emigration, which is considered reckless and which is likely to be disastrous. It can be assured that few of those who are going will be able to return. Everyone agrees that it is absurd to emigrate to islands where everything is foreign to the emigrants: habits, customs and even language. There are doubts as to whether the emigrants will be able to bear a climate so different from our own. The emigrants will also have to compete with the Japanese, who have established a well organized emigration program. All of the professions and industries are controlled by the Japanese, who also feel a great affinity with the native peoples of those islands. This competition with the yellow people can only turn out disastrously for our compatriots. We censure the Government for consenting to this emigration. The socialists have just published a manifesto, in which they forcefully denounce this exodus of proletarian workers.
The embarkation was witnessed by a large crowd, who showed great signs of compassion.
Malaga 8. The steamship Heliopolis will remain in the port, and there is much commotion among the inhabitants of the town. It is believed that the emigrants have been deceived. They are traveling in the worst conditions, packed as if they were beasts. They were not given any food until 1:00, when such a miserable ration was distributed, that many threw the food over board. Many families have come off the ship, and decided not to emigrate. The political press has published several articles, denouncing this evil trafficking in human flesh. The ship does not have the conditions to accomodate such a large number of emigrants. A committee of emigrants has called on the governor to complain about the poor conditions aboard the steamship Heliopolis.
The departure of the ship has been suspended until further notice.
The conflict gets worse –A Depressing scene– Looking for a solution
Malaga 8 The steamship Heliopolis has postponed its departure until tomorrow, because more than seven hundred [?] emigrants decided to disembark and not emigrate, as they could not tolerate the deplorable and unhygienic conditions of the cabins they had been assigned aboard ship.
The spectacle on the docks is heartbreaking. Hundreds of families who no longer have a home on Spanish land, are sleeping in open spaces. Many emigrants, without any resources, are begging for food. The governor has met with the British and American Consuls, and with the administrators of the ship. The Civil Guard has been deployed on the docks to keep order.
NATIONAL DISGRACE: THE HORRORS OF EMIGRATION
Heraldo de Madrid, 9 March 1907 (translation)
Málaga 8 March, (10:00 pm)
Since noon rumors have been circulating about a mutiny among the emigrants on the Heliopolis because of the poor treatment they have received and the despicable conditions of the food on board.
It was also being said that four passengers had died of asphyxiation.
I immediately tried to confirm these rumors, and I headed to the ship, though I was unable to board since the gangway had been removed.
There were crowds gathered on the docks, anxious to get news.
Among the groups were many emigrants who had disembarked, and who were affirming that the night before they had been given coffee brewed with salt water. The food today had been inedible. A delegation of the disembarked emigrants went to lodge a protest with the governor about the deceit of which they had been victims.
It seems that the conflict stems mainly from the inexperience of the cooks that had been hired, because, according to the American consul and the Port authorities, the ship fulfills all the required conditions, and has ample supplies for the entire journey.
The departure of the ship has been blocked until the conflict is resolved.
Malaga 8 March (10:50 pm)
It is estimated that some 200 emigrants have come off the ship, many of them having decided to return to their villages. Some ladies of charity have come to the docks to aid the emigrants, and to great acclaim. No death aboard ship has been confirmed. The American consul, who has just come off the ship, says that the problem was solved by hiring 11 of the emigrant women who agreed to work as cooks. It is believed that the ship will hoist anchor tomorrow. The emigrants who disembarked will demand to be compensated by the company for damages and losses.
The government is being harshly criticized for allowing emigration under these kinds of conditions, which is severely detrimental to agriculture in Spain.
Malaga, 9 March [1:20 pm]
The Heliopolis is still detained in port, until it is able to organize the ship’s services.
It will likely set sail this afternoon. Reports in the press have brought crowds of curious people to the docks. The Civil Guard is patrolling the port. Some of the emigrants who yesterday disembarked are now asking to return aboard; others are begging in the streets. The event is being talked about a great deal.
Malaga, 9 March (4:00 pm)
It seems that the conflict aboard the Heliopolis has been definitively resolved and the ship will set sail tonight.
Foreign cooks have been replaced by Spanish cooks, and this morning the passengers were satisfied with the food. Four bakers have also been hired, for $1,000 pesetas each, plus the cost of repatriation.
The last pieces of luggage are being boarded, and a careful review of the ship is being undertaken; many individuals are being removed from the ship; taking advantage of all the confusion yesterday, they had boarded without the proper documentation. In addition, many of the emigrants who had left the ship yesterday have re-boarded, and it is now believed that no more than two hundred of the emigrants who had signed up for this trip have changed their minds and will return to their villages.
These people, in the meantime, are begging on the streets. […]
New York Tribune, March 9, 1907
Honolulu, March 8– The Territorial Board of Immigration has cabled to Commissioner Sargent asking if the Spanish immigrants now bound for Hawaii on the steamer Heliopolis will be excepted from Attorney General Bonaparte’s ruling against state aided immigration.
Washington, March 8– It was authoritatively stated to-day that the recent opinion of the Attorney General, in which he held that it is unlawful under the recently enacted immigration law for a state to pay the passage of intending immigrants or to assist immigration except by advertisement, will not apply to Hawaii. In that country the decision has already caused considerable agitation, as under the auspices of the Territorial Immigration Society immigrants are being brought to the islands from Europe and the Azores to take the place of Japanese laborers on the sugar plantations. This has been sanctioned by the United States government, and a shipload of immigrants recently brought from the Azores Islands have proved satisfactory…
RIOT ABOARD SHIP BOUND FOR HAWAII: Fifty Spanish Families Kick Up Fuss Over Food and Accomodations –American Consul Acts
Utica Herald Dispatch, March 9, 1907
Madrid, Spain March 9 –A riot among the emigrants bound for Hawaii on board the steamer Heliopolis today postponed the sailing of the vessel from Malaga until Monday. Her sailing permit was rescinded by the harbor authorities just as the steamer was leaving. Meager accomodations and poor food were the causes of the trouble. There were 50 [¿] families, numbering 3,300 on the vessel. When they discovered the poor accomodations there was a violent outbreak. Several persons were badly hurt during the melee and members of the crew were severely handled. Then port officials interfered. As a result of the intervention of the American Consul it was arranged that 200 of the immigrants would return home. Ten Spanish cooks were then engaged by the Consul to make the voyage, and the rioters quieted down. The captain promised better maintenance for the emigrants and it is expected that the steamer will be allowed to sail on Monday.
HORRORS OF EMIGRATION
ABC, (Madrid, Spain) 9 March 1907 (translated)
Málaga. –A cargo of human flesh. The steamship Heliopolis remains in port because of its inadequate conditions, it has been said. A great commotion has arisen among the emigrants, who feel that they have been deceived, since they were being packed into the ship like beasts. They were not given anything to eat until one o’clock, when they were served a miserable ration, that many threw overboard. There is much indignation and forceful protests. Many families have disembarked and decided not to emigrate.
HORRORS ABOARD THE HELIOPOLIS
El Día (Madrid) 9 March 1907 (translated)
The steamship Heliopolis was supposed to depart today at noon, with the expedition of emigrants bound for the Hawaiian Islands, but a grave incident postponed the departure.
Even though there were large supplies of food aboard the ship, the crew refused to feed the emigrants. The passengers made quite a fuss and the American and British Consuls, as well as other authorities, had to intervene. The docks are full of peasants who want to emigrate. They have been promised space on another expedition scheduled to leave next month. The press unanimously protests the way in which the government allows these exploitative initiatives to be undertaken.
It is said that the Heliopolis does not have proper accommodations for so many passengers, and that wooden shacks have been placed on deck as additional lodging quarters. In town, the public spills out on to the streets and goes down to the port to witness the departure of the steamship.
The miserable aspect of the departing emigrants is heartbreaking.
–More than 200 emigrants have disembarked from the Heliopolis, and decided not to emigrate, because since the previous afternoon, they had only been served coffee brewed with salt water. Very serious accounts are circulating, and people are becoming outraged. It has been said that four people have died of asphyxiation aboard the Heliopolis.
A delegation of passengers has called on the governor to denounce the cruel conditions of the expedition. The governor has met with the Marine Commander who has blocked the boat’s departure until the problems are resolved, especially food and lodging. The Yankee Consul has hired eleven women to prepare the food during the journey, since it was discovered that most of the staff hired by the ship do not have kitchen experience.
Some of the ladies of the colony of foreigners who spend their winters in Malaga have gone to the docks to aid the emigrants.
SPAIN STOPS EMIGRANTS. Complaints of Bad Food on Ship Taking 700 Families to Hawaii
New York Sun, March 10, 1907
Madrid, March 9 –The governor and Harbor Master of Malaga prohibited today the sailing of the steamship Heliopolis for Hawaii on account of the complaints of bad food and poor accomodations on board the ship.
THE MESS IN MALAGA
La Vanguardia (Barcelona, Spain), 10 March 1907 (translation)
The Minister of Government met with journalists this morning, and broached the subject of the emigrants from Málaga who were traveling to Hawaii. Mr. La Cierva affirmed that, as soon as he heard of the abuses aboard the Heliopolis, he telegraphed the civil governor of Málaga, ordering a complete report. This is the answer he received from the governor:
“Málaga, 9 March, 10:00 am –The hygienic conditions aboard the Heliopolis are much better than those of all ships outfitted for emigration, and there are bunks for all the emigrants. It carries abundant provisions, condensed milk and baby bottles. What occurred yesterday was the result of poorly organized services and because the food was not properly seasoned, which caused 300 emigrants to disembark and to spread exaggerated rumors. I went to the docks and met with the British and American consuls; while it is true that the ship is flying under the British flag, its owners are American. The emigrants calmed down after they saw that they would be given abundant cold meats. Today, Spanish bakers and cooks have boarded the ship.”
Our Images: Emigration From the Port of Malaga (translation)
ABC, (Madrid) March 11, 1907
Yesterday, finally, after numerous incidents that almost prevented its sailing, the steamship Heliopolis left the port of Malaga, with 3,200 emigrants aboard, bound for the Hawaiian Islands.
The events that occurred these past few days as a result of the difficulties of providing adequate accommodations for such numerous families have put the subject of emigration in the spotlight all over Spain.
The Heliopolis Has Departed
La Vanguardia (Barcelona, Spain) 11 March 1907 (translated)
Málaga– The group of emigrants that were supposed to depart aboard the steamship Heliopolis but chose not to travel, have approached the city government to request assistance in returning to their villages.
The students of the General and Technical High School plan to organize a show to raise funds aimed at helping those emigrants who remained ashore.
The crew of the ship Heliopolis, mostly Chinese and Japanese, had tried to jump ship, but the captain prevented them from doing so.
A young girl died aboard ship, the daughter of two emigrants.
Workers’ organizations have called a meeting to protest the government’s acceptance of emigration.
The emigrants who left for Hawaii complain that aboard ship the dining tables have been placed in the middle of the sleeping quarters, surrounded by bunks.
An eleven-year-old girl was taken off the Heliopolis; she was trying to emigrate by herself to the Hawaiian Islands. She was turned over to her mother, who had been desperately looking for her on the docks.
One woman with a bad leg and another blind woman were removed from the ship.
Another woman, with a small girl in her arms, cried as she walked up and down the docks, asking for someone to adopt her daughter and thus prevent her from dying.
It is believed that the girl will be taken to the foundling hospital.
The Heliopolis has departed.
Emigrants to the Hawaiian Islands
ABC (Madrid, Spain) 11 March 1907
The steamship Heliopolis departed today without incident, with 3,252 immigrants aboard. Roughly 500 would-be emigrants stayed behind, after changing their minds about crossing the seas.
THE DEPARTURE OF THE HELIOPOLIS: Sad Farewell
El Pais (Madrid), 12 March 1907 (translated)
Malaga 11. The steamship Heliopolis departed today, on its way to the Hawaiian Islands, with 3,200 emigrants –men and women—on board.
The spectacle has been extraordinarily moving. The emigrants were crying inconsolably, as they bade farewell to the land of their birth. The people who witnessed the sad spectacle from the docks waved handkerchiefs to say goodbye to those poor passengers who were abandoning the land that saw their birth but which denies them the bread of life.
Some 628 emigrants stayed ashore, having changed their minds about emigrating. Many of them are returning to their villages, on foot. It is said that in April another expedition will set out for the same destination, this time with 4,000 emigrants.
To raise funds that will be used to help those who have stayed behind, the students of the General Technical High School is organizing a show. This is a most laudable initiative. While these things are happening, the government takes care of its pork, without worrying one bit about the horrific predicament of Andalucia.
A Bankrupt State
El País (Madrid), 12 March 1907 (translated)
Regardless of how we define the State, everyone agrees that it has three primordial functions: the life and securty of its citizens, the proper administration of justice, and repect for the rule of law. From the economists who think that these are the state’s only three proper functions, to State socialists who assign to the state many other responsibilities, everyone agrees that these three are fundamental and constitutive of the state. A state that fails to guarantee the rule of law, justic and life, has failed, it is not even a State. This is the case of the Spanish State.
These past few days, a number of facts, and reality itself –that great teacher—have shown us that the State does not guarantee life, justice or the rule of law; instead, the State obstructs, compromises, disdains and violates those things.
In almost all of rural Spain, with the exception of four or five eastern provinces and the Basque country, hunger is endemic. In Andalucía it is a particularly serious and acute problem […] High mortality rates, the decadence of the race, and mass emigrations are the immediate consequences of the endemic and traditional hunger in Andalucía. And what does the State do to guarantee the right to life of these thousands of Spaniards? Nothing! […]
The State is powerless to stem the flow of emigration, and it does not even know how to channel and organize it to protect the emigrants. In Malaga we have just witnessed the scandal of a slave ship putting in at that port to pick up a load of Spanish peasants and take them to the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean. The Heliopolis is lacking all manner of conditions for such a journey. Everyone who saw the ship, with the exception of the Governor, says that it was a pig sty; the food was awful; the passengers were crowded into what looked like wooden cages; the Chinese crew members were filthy and stank to high heavens; witnesses even saw mounds of sawdust on the ship’s deck where the passengers had to empty their bowels… A real horror. These are the conditions endured by the unfortunate Spaniards who are expelled from their country because of the lack of work and productivity. The government abandons them. It doesn’t protect them from immoral enterprises or companies who, in addition to transporting them in these apalling conditions, often do not even fulfill the promises they made to lure the emigrants in the first place..
SHIP LEAVES WITH LUGGAGE OF PASSENGERS WHO STAYED BEHIND
La Vanguardia (Barcelona, Spain) 13 March 1907 (translated)
Information from Málaga; the 600 emigrants who decided at the last minute not to emigrate to the Hawaiaan Islands on the steamship Heliopolis did not have time to reclaim their luggage and the ship left port with the luggage on board. Thus the situation of these poor folks has become considerably worse.
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT IN LONDON
Correspondencia de España, 16 March 1907 (translated)
The Reuter Agency, which only sends news about Spain to London when the topic will discredit our nation before the eyes of the whole world –strikes, famine, plagues, epidemics, emigration, government crises, episodes of fanaticism or sectarism, etc etc.– today has a story about those thousands of Andalusian workers who were set to emigrate to the Hawaiian Islands aboard the steamship Heliopolis. In Málaga they refused to allow the ship to leave because they were already starving to death in port, as they were only given bread and coffee, and the coffee had been brewed with salt water.
This is just a single news item, but truthfully, it is hard to say which part of it will be more irritating or infuriating to any patriotic Spaniard: the self-satisfaction with which the Reuter Agency reports on these things; the mistreatment to which these unfortunate compatriots of ours were subjected aboard the Yankee steamship Heliopolis; or the very fact that 3,000 Spaniards, of the white race, like us, who speak the same language as us, who like us are heirs to traditions of pride and chivalrous spirit, that these compatriots of ours are obliged to emigrate to the Hawaiian islands where they will have to compete for their bread with Japanese coolies who over the last 3,000 years have become habituated to a regime of despotism, submission and passivity…
Caras y caretas (Buenos Aires, Argentina) 13 April 1907
With the goal of colonizing the Hawaiian archipelago and replacing the Japanese with Europeans, the United States recently hired 850 Andalusian families, or a total of 3,823 individuals. The steamship Heliopolis recently arrived to Malaga to transport them to Hawaii.
On March 8 the embarkation process was completed, but that same day many of those who had embarked began returning to land, complaining of the bad food and hygiene aboard ship. The governor got involved; accompanied by the US Consul, and the Director of Maritime Health, he visited the ship. The result of the inspection was that the complaints were enormously exaggerated, since the hygienic conditions of the Heliopolis were much better than those of most ships outfitted for emigrants, and the ship had abundant and good-quality supplies.
As a result, however, some 600 of the contracted emigrants changed their minds, and stayed ashore. The Heliopolis departed from the port with some 3,200 emigrants aboard.
HELIOPOLIS IN PUNTA ARENA, CHILE
La Vanguardia (Barcelona, Spain) 16 April 1907 (translated)
Because of its great interest, we translate the following telegram which was published in the newspaper Il Sécolo in Genoa, on 13 April. “News from Punta Arena: some extremely sad events have taken place aboard the Heliopolis, which is loaded with Spanish emigrants en route to Hawaii. The poor immigrants have had to endure all kinds of misery, including eating spoiled food and drinking impure water. When news of this situation spread, there was much indignation.”
SPANIARDS FOR HAWAII. Arrival of 2,200 Assisted Immigrants, Who Had 14 Children Born on Way– 19 Children Died.
Boston Daily Globe, April 28, 1907
Honolulu, April 27– The steamship Heliopolis has arrived from Malaga with 2,200 Spanish immigrants. In the voyage there were 14 births and 19 deaths, the latter all children, who died of measles.
SPANISH LABOR IS SATISFACTORY. Immigrants stay on Hawaiian Plantations and Make Good
San Francisco Chronicle, September 20, 1907.
Honolulu. September 9. –The Spanish immigrants brought here by the Heliopolis some months ago are giving satisfaction in all parts of the islands where they have gone. For the most part, too, they have remained on the plantations where they went to work first. Very few have abandoned the plantations, either to engage in other work or to leave the islands. There have been some who have, for there were undoubtedly some who came who never intended to work on the plantations, but took the opportunity offered by the Heliopolis to leave their country in the belief that they could thus get to America cheaper than by any other way.
A few have left the plantations to seek employment elsewhere, alleging that the wages paid by the plantations were not enough to support their families. Concerning these the Beacon, a weekly paper published ostensibly as the organ of the Democratic party in the Territory, but really controlled and directed by a leading member of the Democratic organization who is deeply interested in plantations, says:
“We note with interest that three Spaniards have appeared in town, having given up employment on the plantations for the reason that the plantation wages, consisting of $20 a month will not support either a Spaniard or a Portuguese who has a family of any size. On the other hand, the plantations cannot well afford to pay much more in cash, but what most plantations can afford, if they will only see it that way, is a plot of ground on which those Spaniards, without interfering with their work on the plantations, can raise what would probably cost them $10 to $15 a month to buy.”
MAY HAVE BROKEN IMMIGRATION LAW. Action of Hawaii in Importing Portuguese is Now in Question. LABOR MEN INVESTIGATING. Penalty for Offense Would Be Four and One-Half Millions.
San Francisco Chronicle, Nov 24, 1907
Honolulu, November 14.– The American Federation of Labor has been in correspondence with representatives here in regard to the Portuguese and Spanish immigrants which were brought to Hawaii during the past year. The correspondence has been along the line of determining whether the introduction of these immigrants was not a violation of the immigration law, and if so, if it did not make the territory or those acting for it liable to the fine of $1,000 for each of the immigrants thus brought in.
All these immigrants were brought into the territory only after the most thorough discussion of the law with President Roosevelt and with Commisioner-General of Immigration Sargent, and under a ruling of the Secretary of the Department of Commerce and Labor. In fact, Commission-General of Immigration Sargent came here to look the matter over before any of the immigrants were brought, and he came out here to be present when the first shipload of them landed.
But Attorney-General Bonaparte’s opinion on the law since given makes it less certain than it was that the bringing of these immigrants here was technically within the law. The possibility was recognized by President E.F. Bishop of the Planters’ Association in his annual address in that body in which he said: “It is to be hoped that the immigration laws will be so amended at the coming session of Congress that the coming of this class of people (Spaniards and Portuguese) to Hawaii, may be resumed, stopped as it has been because of a possible irregularity in the methods followed by the Territorial Board of Immigration having charge of this work.
If the introduction of these immigrants was in violation of the immigration law, there is a penalty of $1,000 for each individual so introduced. As there were 4,762 introduced in this way, the fines would amount to $4,762,000. As half of this under the law goes to the informer, it is easy to see that there is a temptation to undertake prosecutions to recover this penalty. The American Federation of Labor seems to be interested in it because of its general opposition to assisted immigration, while the penaly and the disposition of the penalty supplies a means by which expensive prosecutions might be carried on.
Washington Post, December 14, 1907
The annual report of the governor of Hawaii gives an interesting resume of the labor conditions on the islands and the efforts recently made to induce desirable immigration. The frank admission is made that the sugar interests, which predominate in Hawaii, have pursued a selfish and futile policy toward labor, and it is pointed out that the new policy is supported mainly by contributions from the sugar interests, showing that it is realized at last that the semi-peonage system is a costly failure.
Under the new arrangement efforts have been made to induce laborers to go to Hawaii from Spain and the Azores and Madeira, experience having demonstrated that Portuguese and Spanish laborers in similar climates have proved their worth. The collector of customs at Honolulu was granted a leave of absence of six months, and he proceeded to the Azores and elsewhere as the representative of the Hawaiian board of immigration. He had little difficulty in raising a company of 1,325 persons, who sailed from Funchal in October 1906, and arrived at Honolulu in due time. There they found many of their countrymen, and offers of work were forthcoming as soon as they left quarantine. The governor’s report emphasizes the statement that no restraint or compulsion of any nature was exercised or attempted with the immigrants, who were free to stay or return, as they pleased. Last spring 2,201 immigrants from Malaga, Spain, arrived at Honolulu, and still later 1,106 Portuguese immigrants arrived.
The sugar plantations offered inducements to prospective immigrants, acting on the conclusion that a new system of labor employment was necessary. Most of the plantations offered to give an acre of land, either outright or on a long lease, to the head of each family and to build him a house costing $400. A form of homestead and farming agreement was drawn up, which embodied the inducements offered and the conditions which immigrants were expected to observe in performing their share of the agreement.
The objection has been made that this is practically an evasion of the contract labor law, but the plan has stood the test of rigid scrutiny by the government, and it seems to work well in practice, without depriving immigrants of any rights. it is an improvement, at any rate, over the old rapacious methods which made laborers the serfs of the sugar planters. The importation of European laborers means, also, a reduction of the relative proportion of Asiatics in Hawaii, which is much to be desired, since Europeans are assimilable and Asiatics are not. Within a few years the Portuguese and the Spaniards who are working out their salvation in Hawaii will be good American citizens. The Japanese and the Chinese will never become Americans.
JAPANESE IN HAWAII. Delegate Kalanianaole Says Planters Are Not Ousting Them
New York Times, January 6, 1908
Washington. Jan. 5.–Prince Kuhio Kalanianaole, Delgate in Congress from Hawaii, expresses astonishment at the reports at Vancouver that Hawaiian planters are trying to rid themselves of Japanese laborers. While he has heard nothing of the situation there, and nothing has come to any branch of the Government here, he says he is inclined to believe the report has no substantial foundation.
“The planters in Hawaii want all the laborers they can get –Japanese or any other sort,” he said this evening. “There are now about 60,000 Japanese on the island and there is work for more –for Spanish-Americans, Spaniards, or Japanese. To displace the Japanese would be a difficult task, and I do not believe that at this time the planters have any intention of trying to get rid of them.
SPANISH LEAVING THE PLANTATIONS. Two Hundred Families Cease Work at Hawaii and Come Here. Complain of Hardships. Forty Have Become Objects of Charity and May Be Deported
San Francisco Chronicle, July 2, 1909, p. 12
Forty destitute Spanish families now being cared for by the Associated Charities in this city have been given the choice of being deported to Spain or of returning to work on the sugar plantations of the Hawaiian Islands. This was the ultimatum conveyed to them by United States Immigration Commisioner Hart H. North yesterday. The returned Spaniards say that they were worked fourteen hours a day on the plantations and that they were obliged to purchase the necessaries of life from the company stores at an exorbitant price.
M.A. de Silva, an agent of the planters, is in this city, herding the fugitives back to the islands.
There were 700 families in all who arrived at Honolulu from Spain on April 26, 1907 on the steamers Luveric, Helipopolis and Rumeric. They were brought to the islands by the Territorial Immigration Bureau, a commercial organization, composed of sugar planters who desired cheap labor and who had sent agents to Spain and the Azores to drum up immigrants. There were no written contracts, but it was understood before starting, so the Spaniards say, that they were to receive for ten hours worked a day $20 a month during the first year, $21 during the scond year, and $22 during the third year. At the end of the third year they were to be given free of cost the house and the little patch of land on which they lived.
COME TO SAN FRANCISCO
Seven hundred families, amounting to about 3,000 men, women and children, composed the first batch of imigrants to the islands. During the past six months 200 of these families have left the islands and come to California. They came without proper clothing for the cooler climate of San Francisco, and most of them without bedclothing.
They soon became a burden upon the Associated Charities, that organization having expended more than $700 upon them during the month of May. At the beginning of the fruit gathering season all but forty families found employment in the interior and on the coast of this state. The forty still remain as an incubus and it is upon these that Agent de Silva is using his persuasive powers, assisted by the United States Government, to induce them to return to the islands. Mr. de Silva arived from New York a day or two ago and reported the facts to Commisioner North, who has been advised by the immigration Bureau at Washington to assist in herding the Spaniards back to the islands.
COMPLAIN OF HARDSHIPS
The immigrants told Secretary Harry R. Bogart of the Associated Charities that they were obliged to go to work at 4 in the morning and kept at work until half-past 6 in the evening, and that they were taken great distances in flat cars to the plantations without any guard rail on the cars.
Mr. deSilva denied yesterday that the men were required to work more than ten hours per day and said that their living expenses were not high, inasmuch as house rent was free and each house had half an acre or so of land on which they could raise much food did they so desire. He said that the Spaniards became discontented because friends and countrymen wrote them from California that they could do much better in the state. When they arrived here they found that they could not get employment at all. Mr. de Silva pointed out the fact that two hundred families had managed to save sufficient in two years to pay their fares at the rate of $30 per head to this city and that since their arrival the depositors in the savings bank at Honoloulu increasted 300.
He is offering the forty families free transportation to Honolulu on the steamship Alameda, which will sail on July 17th. If they decline the offer they will be deported to Spain.
Fined for Abusing Immigrants at Sea British Steamship Must Pay $7,960 for Neglect –Condemned by Commerce Department.
–New York Herald, December 8, 1911
It was announced by the Department of Commerce and Labor that penalties aggregating $7,960 were imposed today by Mr. Cable, acting Secretary of the department, upon the British steamship Oteric for what was described as the “worst case of neglect of steerage passengers ever brought before the department under the passenger act of 1882.” A department statement says:
“Among her 1,242 passengers there were in the eight weeks of her voyage 58 deaths, 57 being children. The sexes were not properly segregated: the ventilation of the ship was inadequate and greatly increased the mortality rate; the hospital facilities were ill ventilated and without proper equipment and the sanitary conditions of the vessel were almost beyond belief.
“The case has been pending before the department since the arrival of the Oteric at Honolulu April 13. The vessel was employed to carry Portuguese and Spanish immigrants through Magellan Straits to Honolulu.
“The master of the vessel, James Findley, attempted to explain the existing conditions by stating that about ten days after leaving Gibraltar there was a battle between the Portuguese and Spanish male passengers. To prevent further trouble the Portuguese passengers were placed aft, while the Spanish passengers were put forward. This resulted in the commingling of the sexes.”
ADVICE TO EMIGRANTS
ABC (Madrid, Spain) 27 December 1912 (translated)
The High Council on Emigration has learned that in different points of Spain there has been a propaganda campaign aimed at recruiting workers to emigrate to the Hawaiian Islands.
Said Council, having studied all of the credible reports and information about the situation of workers on those islands, urges all those who are being recruited to keep these things in mind:
-the voyage is made in ships that are not authorized by the Spnaish government, and, therefore, any claims made before that government will go unheeded
-once in Hawai, the workers are taken to the places that best suit the plantation owners
-the workday is 12 hours, with only a half hour break for lunch
-if you become ill, you are forced to go to the hospitals, which are far away from the plantations where you live; not knowing English also turns out to be the source of tremendous hardships
-the daily wage for a strong worker who can bear the twelve hour days twenty-six days each month, is 23 pesos per month; an insufficient wage for survival, because of the exorbitant prices of basic necessities, which are sold in stores run by the plantation owners.
-on the plantations many of the workers are Chinese, Japanese and Malaysian, and occasionally a European worker is treated in the same way that those other groups are treated.
El Motín (Madrid), 16 April 1914 (translated)
You live poorly here on your land, don’t you, John Spaniard? Your fields don’t yield enough to live on. Your business is not going so well. Your peasant arms can’t find a job that pays. Your shop is failing because of a lack of clients. Your employment, with its miserable pay, keeps you busy during the best hours of the day, so you can’t find any time to moonlight. You’ve thought of leaving. But to where? […]
Will you go the Hawaiian Islands? Remember the tragedy of the Willesden, the children dying in the bowels of a slave ship, their bodies thrown into the Atlantic and into the Pacific, the desperation of the peasant mothers, watching an oceanic grave swallow up their little babies born in happy Andalucía. Don’t forget that in the archipelago where Cook died, the Yankee and Japanese planters look at Spanish peons like abject beings, worthy only of the whip and crude insults. Seeing them arrive from a land as remote as Spain, defeated, indigent, miserable, they equate them with Chinese coolies. And they treat them the same way […]
La emigración española, Madrid August 15, 1916, p. 131 (translation)
This is not a new problem for Hawaii; a lack of workers on their plantations. I don’t think that the Board of Immigration will, for the third time, look toward Spain, because experience has taught them that bringing Spanish immigrants was a mistake. But just in case their network of agents and recruiters might once again visit Spain, we should remain vigilant.
Sugar and pineapple cultivation are the only profitable enterprises in Hawaii, and the plantations own all the land that is adequate for these crops. So if a worker, through labor and thrift, manages to save a few hundred dollars (there are maybe a dozen of these lucky ones in our colony), he won’t know where to put his money and will go to California, whose very name is an attraction for all Spanish emigrants. This assertion is confirmed by the fact that each year some 450 Spaniards depart from this port en route to California, and of the 8,000 Spaniards that were originally brought here according to the statistics, there are only 3,000 that are still here.
There is another reason why our countrymen should not trust the inducements that are promised in order to attract them to this Pacific Paradise, which is what they call this archipelago: the daily wage of 18 reales, medical attention, house and firewood, in exchange for 10 hours-a-day of difficult work, is not at all in proportion with the cost of food. In Honolulu the minimum wage is $1.75, equivalent to 85 of our reales, for eight hours work. But these jobs, in general, are reserved for native Hawaiians or American subjects, and supply is always greater than demand for these kinds of workers.
Finally, in Hawaii there are 91,409 Japanese, 21,770 Chinese, and 15,290 Filipinos; if to these numbers we add the Island natives, we whites are a minority. The white race can not compete with the black race or the yellow race, especially the latter, because of their characteristic sobriety: a plate of rice is their usual daily ration; they endure the difficult work with admirable resignation; they are accustomed to hardships, and the miserable conditions in which these unfortunate people live are inappropriate for European farmhands, who will never be able to bear them.
Honolulu, March 31 1916, Consul de España, Luis Guillén Gil