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To this tempting prospect there were but two drawbacks, the monarchy and the native sentiment. The former was disposed of, by pronouncing it at once aggressive and effete, whilst conscience was satisfied, with regard to the natives, by the presumption that annexation to the United States, whether liked or not, was for their ultimate good.
It must, of course, be granted that the material interests of a state are of momentous importance ; and if, in their pursuit, men seek to change the existing order of things, they are entitled to plead justification. But surely, in such circumstances, existing institutions deserve tender consideration. Momentous changes should be accomplished by peaceful and constitutional means. If it be better for the Hawaiian Islands to be annexed to the United States, this should be clearly shown, and the consent of the people should be obtained.
The question of the hour is, “Will the people of the United States consent to the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands ?” The probabilities do not seem favourable.
Mr. Harrison's Cabinet certainly appears to have entertained the proposal ; but a moribund government is hardly competent to deal with a question which goes to the very root of American policy. The practical American will ask himself what advantages the United States would derive from so distinct a departure from its traditional policy. It has been shown that America already enjoys 92 per cent. of the Hawaiian trade, and has acquired a naval and coaling station near Honolulu : what more can be obtained but responsibility ? In time of war with any great naval power, the possession of the Islands would be a serious weakness to America, and would render her vulnerable more than two thousand miles from her base of operations. Thinking Americans may well doubt the wisdom of annexing a country, without some distinct expression of opinion on the part of the great bulk of the people, who, if coerced, would naturally assume a hostile attitude and resent all attempts to deprive them of their independence. The sovereign rights of the people is the foundation of American institutions ; and it seems eminently consistent that the people of Hawaii should have a voice in their own disposal. It must be remembered also that the sugar producers of America are likely to object to the admission of so formidable a rival within the boundaries of the Union. This hostility has indeed already made itself manifest. It has been suggested that unless the United States take possession of the Hawaiian Islands they may be occupied by some European power coveting the strength of their geographical position. This is both improbable and unreasonable. Not only have France and England bound themselves to respect the independence of the Hawaiian Kingdom, but they have entered into a treaty of self-denial, by which each has solemnly undertaken not to interfere with its autonomy. The United States were requested to join in this treaty, but declined, on the ground that the government of that country did not find it incumbent upon them to undertake not to do that which they had no intention of doing. No European power would venture to incur the resentment of the United States by attempting to take possession of a group of islands well understood to be so peculiarly within the sphere of American influence, by reason of their proximity to her shores. After the United States, Great Britain has doubtless the largest interests in Hawaii ; but this is comparatively so small as to carry but little weight in considering the important question of her independence. There are about 1,500 Englishmen in the entire group; and whilst British interests in the sugar industry of the islands is represented by a capital of less than $6,000,000, American interests stand for about $25,000,000. Throughout the present difficulty, Great Britain does not appear to have raised a finger of protest, recognising no doubt that the question is one which mainly concerns the United States and Hawaii, and is too distant from the sphere of British interests and influences to call for any action on her part. British interests in Hawaii would without doubt be
equally safe under American as under Hawaiian rule. It has been shown that whilst Great Britain has recognised the independence of the Hawaiian kingdom, she has not bound herself to defend it. It would be a mistake, how. ever, to suppose that Englishmen are indifferent to the fate of this miniature kingdom, and the promising and successful advance made by the native race in the arts of peace, civilization and self-government.
The unanimous expres sion of sympathy with the Queen, and the condemnation of the methods employed to dethrone her, which appeared in the London press on the day the news was received, sufficiently, indicate the drift of public sentiment in England on the subject. It is difficult to forecast the probable issue of the present situation in Hawaii. It is clear that President Harrison, whatever may have been his inclination, has not had time to carry out the project of annexation. The question therefore remains in abeyance for the administration of President Cleveland. But will the United States depart from its traditional policy of non-interference in countries beyond its own ample borders ? Under ordinary circumstances, it might be safe to answer this question in the negative; but the United States stand compromised by the act of its representative at Honolulu, who practically assisted in the dethronement of the Queen ; and if annexation is not deemed expedient, must either withdraw or assist in establishing some form of government acceptable to the majority of its inhabitants. Of these nearly half are natives and half-castes; or, to be precise, the Census of 1890 discloses the following particulars. At that date, the total population was 89,990: of these 34,436 were natives, 6,186 half-castes, 7,495 Hawaiian-born foreigners, 1,928 Americans, 1,344 British, 1,034 Germans, 70 French, 8,602 Portuguese, 227 Norwegian, 15,301 Chinese, 12,360 Japanese, and 1,007 of various other nationalities. The native population is very far advanced in education. They possess a complete educational system. The total number
of schools in the kingdom is 178 (besides a noble college situated in Honolulu), at which the average attendance of scholars is 10,006, mostly taught in English. The number of teachers employed is 368. The public schools are all, with one exception, maintained at the
government, at an annual cost of about $200,000. Illiteracy is practically unknown. Newspapers, printed both in English and Hawaiian, circulate extensively. The natives, in common with the rest of the population, enjoy a liberal franchise, take an active interest in politics, and send a considerable number of their own representatives to the national legislature. In these circumstances native sentiment must ultimately be reckoned with in determining the form of government and the political destiny of the Hawaiian Islands. The readiest solution of the present difficulty would appear to be the restoration of the Queen, with the proper constitutional safe-guards already existing. The lesson of the revolution will not have been lost. The Queen would prove herself a truly constitutional sovereign, acceptable alike to the natives and the inhabitants of every nationality.
It is by no means improbable that the democratic government of President Cleveland will abolish the bounty system, to which it is opposed in principle, and in consideration of this, will restore the duty on sugar, which in times past has yielded a revenue of from 50 to 60 millions of dollars. In this event the benefits of the Hawaiian reciprocity treaty will at once become operative, and prosperity will again smile on the Hawaiian people. But whatever happens, all well-wishers of this beautiful and interesting little Kingdom will earnestly hope for its peace, happiness, prosperity and independence.
The above article was written on the 28th February 1893. Since then, some of its anticipations have actually taken place - notably the reluctance of the United States to annex the Islands, which, notwithstanding President Harrison's seemingly favourable declaration, is now unlikely to be carried out by his successor. Mr. Cleveland has, in fact, withdrawn the annexation proposal from the consideration of the Senate at Washington.—ED.
A SECRET RELIGION IN THE HINDUKUSH [THE PAMIR REGION]AND IN THE LEBANON.
I.—THE MULÁIS OF THE HINDUKUSH. A NUMBER of conjectures as to the origin of the word "Mulai," all of which are incorrect, have been made by eminent writers unacquainted with Arabic or the meaning of its theological history and terms. A few of these conjectures, however, go very near some fact or view connected with the “ Muláis.” The word may not mean “terrestrial gods,” but there are no other, for practical purposes, in the creed of the “Muláis.” It is certainly not a corruption of “Muláhid” or “heretic,” if not “atheist,” although this term has been specially applied to them by their enemies. It can have nothing whatever to do etymologically with "Muwahidîn ” or worshippers of “One” [God], though they, no doubt, call themselves so, i.e., “Unitarians." There is this additional difficulty, moreover, introduced into the question, that no name can be conclusive as to the esoteric appellation of a sect that has been obliged to practise "Conformity” or “ Pious fraud” or “concealment” of its religion, in order to escape persecution or wholesale massacre. The Shiahs,* whose belief, in the hereditary succession, through the descendants of A'li, of the spiritual "Imámat" or leadership or apostleship of the prophet Muhammad, rendered them overt or covert enemies of those Sunni rulers who held the temporal power or “the Khilafat” (misspelt as “the Caliphate"), were, and are, allowed to practise “Taqqia” (which I have rendered as “ Conformity”) outwardly and the more exaggerated or exclusive a particular A'liite or Shiite sect, the more careful had it to be. The Sunni and Shiah may both publicly confess “ There is no God but God, and Muhammad is his prophet"; but
* It is superfluous to inform readers of this Review that the Persians are Shiah, and the Turks Sunni, Muhammadans. Most of the Indian Muhammadans are Sunnis.