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Senatorial Discussion of
Burton's Hawaii Amendment.
The Congressional Record gives
in detail the discussion arising
from the introduction of Senator
Burton's amendment to the immi
gration bill allowing Chinese to
enter Hawaii. The chief features
of the discussion follow:
Mr. Burton I ask that the
amendment be read and that it be
considered at this time.
The President pro tempore The
amendment will be stated.
The Secretary Add at the end
of section 3 the following addi
"And provided further, That
nothing contained in this section
shall be understood as applying to
the Territory of Hawaii, but that
whenever it .can be shown to the
satisfaction of the Secretary of
Agriculture and of the Secretary of
the Treasury that the number of
agricultural laborers arc insufficient
for the proper agricultural develop
ment of the Territory, then the
Secretary of the Treasury shall
authorize and allow the admission
to the said Territory of Hawaii a
number of Chinese laborers suffi
cient in his judgment to supply the
demands for such labor under regu
lations to the issued by him, and
under the following conditions, to
wit: That the said Chinese agricul
tural laborers shall be permitted to
enter the Territory of Hawaii for
the sole purpose of performing
agricultural labor, and shall not be
allowed to go from the said Terri
tory of Hawaii to any other portion
of the territory of the United
States; that the persons or corpora
tions in whose service said Chinese
agricultural laborers are engaged
shall first give a good and sufficient
bond to the satisfaction of the
Secretary of the Treasury to defray
the necessary expenses of the said
Chinese laborer's deportation to
China in case he deserts the labor
for which he was permitted to
come to the said Territory."
Mr. Hoar I think that should
Mr. Mitchell Mr. President, it
seems to me that the proposition
involved in the proposed amend
ment is one that ought not to be
considered by the Senate until it
has been referred to the appro
priate committee and considered by
that committee. I hope the honor
able Senator from Kansas who
ofTered the amendment will agree
to that course.
Mr. Burton Mr. President, I
am not solicitous about the present
consideration of this amendment,
provided it can go over and be con
sidered by the comraitte'e; but I
want to raise this question on the
pending bill. I brought it up at
this time because the bill was about
to be reported. If the chairman is
willing that the bill shall go over
so that the committee can consider
this amendment and that Senators
may have an opportunity to study
it, I have no objection at all, but I
do think that it is germane to this
I will say that I am very much
in favor of this proposed legislation.
I did not want to bring up this
question betore the Senate until
after our committee I mean the
committee that investigated condi
tions in Hawaii had reported; but
this is a matter that is easily under
stood, and I have decided, for my
self, that it is the kind of legislation
that ought to be enacted.
Hawaii today is in a state of in
dustrial and economic depression,
just the opposite exactly from con
ditions that prevail in this country,
and well-nigh everybody there
attributes it to the fact that they
can not get Chinese labor. I think
it will be admitted by anyone who
has carefully studied the situation
in Hawaii that the tiative Hawaiian
will not perform agricultural labor.
The white man will not perforu it
there. They have attempted the
importation of negroes, and that is
a failure. It must be performed by
cither Chinese or Japanese, and as
between the two everybody prefers
Chinese. I think I am safe in say
ing that that the merchants, the
planters, the tradespeople the
manufacturers, and the skilled la
borers as well are all in favor of
this proposed legislation.
Mr. Bacon Did the Senator
make inquiry to know what was the
desire of the native Hawaiians on
the subject of the admission of
Mr. Burton Yes sir; they are in
favor of it. I would not say all,
for that would take in everybody,
but certainly a very large majority
of them are in favor of it.
Mr. Hoar Dos this amendment
come by authority of the committee
Mr. Burton No, sir. The Sena
tor refers to the committee on Pa
cific Islands and Porto Rico?
Mr. Hoar The standing commit
tee which includes Hawaii in its
jurisdiction. Has that committee
considered and recommended this
Mr. Burton No, sir; it has not
been considered by the committee.
It has been considered very care
fully by the sub-committee which
was sent to Hawaii to investigate
conditions there, and that commit
tee has not reported. I may say,
since the question has been asked,
that probably the members of that
I committee would not agree about
this matter. Hence I hesitated to
I raise the question nt this time, but
seeing that this bill was up and
about to be put up its passage, as I
thought the subject was germane, I
brought it betore the Senate for the
Senate's consideration. There is
Mr. Bacon I do not desire to un
duly interrupt the Senator. Of
course I' recognize the fact that the
Senator had an opportunity to as
certain the wishes of the native po
pulation, and his opportunity was
very much greater than mine.
Mine was extremely limited, but in
the limited opportunity which I had
the information which came to me
was that the native people did not
desire the Chinese to be brought in,
whatever may be said as to other
classes of the population of those
Mr. Burton Well, I think, Mr.
President, I risk nothing in saying
that a very large majority of the
natives, and especially the more in
telligent natives, are in favor of re
stricted Chinese immigration to that
Territory. This amendment, as
Senators will observe, I think, has
been drawn with very great care.
It provides for the deportation of a
Chinaman as soon as he leaves the
plantation or as soon as he quits
Mr. Perkins I should like very
much to ask the Senator from Kan
sas a question.
Mr. Burton Certainly.
Mr. Perkins Is it not a fact that
those who advocate the admission
of Chinese into the Hawaiian Is
lands do so for the reason that their
labor is very much cheaper than
that of any other coutract labor that
it is possible for them to obtain ?
Mr. Burton Yes, sir.
Mr. Perkins In other words, the
planters ore now making from 15 to
30 per cent on their sugar plantat
ions in the Hawaiian Islands, while
the Kansas farmer makes 6 per cent
and the California farmer the same.
If they can get Chinese labor they
can double their income. That is
I the whole kernel in the nut. The
t whole question is one of cheap
' Mr. Burton The Senator asked
Mr. Perkins That is all.
Mr. Burton I will state to the
Senator that every plantation in
Hawaii I heard of, except one, has
passed its dividends within the last
two years instead of making the
profits the Senator speaks of. The
Senator is mistaken when he says
that the owners of the plantations
there are Making money. They
are not making money. They can
not make money at the present
price of sugar nnd the present price
of labor. It is the Japanese who
have raised the price of labor high
er than the traffic will bear,, nnd
they are not as good citizens as-tbe
Chinamen. That is the universal
testimony so far as I could get it, of
all persons in Hawaii.
Mt. Tillman I believe we now
admit the Japanese without restric
tion, the same as we admit French
men? Mr. Burton Yes, sir. J
Mr. Tillman And we do not
.Mr. Burton No, sir.
Mr. Tillman Yet the Senator
says that is it the universal testi
mony that the Chinese make better
citizens than the Japanese. Now,
there is a contradiction out here
somewhere, or else we have been
legislating in the dark, and I should
like the Senator to explain that.
Mr. Burton Well, I am speak
ing about the kind of Japanese who
go to Hawaii and the kind of China
men who go to Hawaii, as they tell
me. I do not think I talked to a
single employer of labor who did
not speak about the fact that the
Chinese are preferable.
Mr. Hoar Who i to deport the
(jlnncse laborer who does not do his
work, according to this amendment?
Mr. Purton The employer must
give a bond, nnd the Senator will
observe that it is placed in the dis
cretion or under the control of the
Secretary of Agriculture and the
Secretary of the Treasury. I do
not know that that is the best way
to do it.
Mr. Hoar Then if a man you
call a person a man under these cir
cumstances does not do his work
to the satisfaction of his employer,
somebody is to be given the power
to take him and deport him. Who
has that poXver? v
Mr. Burton I do not think that
the Senator from Massachusetts, if
he will pardon me, states the matter
just as it is.
Mr. Hoar Let me read the
amendment. It is as follows:
Mr. Burton Very well.
Mr. Hoar (reading) "That the
persons or corporations in whose
service said Chinese agricultural
laborers are engaged shall first give
a good and sufficient bond, to the
satisfaction of the Secretary of the
Treasury, to defray the necessary
expenses of the said Chinese la
borer's deportation to China in case
he deserts the labor for which he
was permitted to come to the said
Territory." Now, my question is,
Who is to deport him?
Mr. Burton The employer gives
a bond to the Secretary of the.
Treasury, and I suppose that the
Secretary of the Treasury would,
through his officers, deport him.
Mr. Hoar Where is the author
ity to deport by law a man who is
lawfully there because he does not
do his work?
Mr. Burton Well, the Senator
will observe that is to be done
when he does not do a particular
kind of work.
Mr. Hoar Exactly; when he
does not do a particular kind of
Mr. Burton This amendment
would permit Chinese' immigration
for agricultural purposes only. . It
would not allow them to go into
the mills or perform any kind of
skilled labor. If the Chinaman
should leave the plantation, or the
rice field, or should leave agricul
tural work, then he would be sub
ject to deportation.
Mr. Hoar Who is going to de
port them? I want to understand
about this taking a man by the
nape of the neck, on what is now
American soil, and carrying him
out if he does, not do his work to
the satisfaction of his employer. It
is an example which, I suppose,
the Senator from Kansas thinks a
good one; but I want to understand
all the bearings and relations of it,
if I can.
Mr. Burton Just how the Secre
tary of the Treasury would proceed,
or what machinery would be brought
into play to send the Chinaman
back, I have not fully considered.
Mr. Foraker The Senator from
Massachusetts makes an inquiry
upon that point as though deport
ation was something new.
Mr. Burton I was just about to
I Mr. Foraker We have been de
porting Chinamen for a good many
years when they were here under
circumstances that warranted it. It
is done, I believe, by the Treasury
Department, acting through officials
charged with that duty in proper
Mr. Hoar Yes; they are de
ported. I do not comment upon
that law now one way or the other;
but, at any rate, they are deported
as persons who have no right to be
here and had no right to come
here, and that is 1 well-settled
system' on which we agreed. Now,
when a man has lawfully come
within our borders under a con
tract and is lawfully at work under
his contract, it is said if he docs not
work he may be deported. It may
be that the reason he docs not work
is because he is cruelly treated; it
may be because he claims the em
ployer has not kept his coutract; it
may be because he is sick and can
not work; but whntevcr may be
the reason, somebody, not a judge,
and, so far as I am aware, not the
Secretary of the Treasury in per
son, for he is 5000 miles away, is
to take that man by a summary
process and carry him back to
China. I have not suggested to
anybody whether that is right or
wrong, but I think the Senate
should know the machine.
Mr. Foraker Will the Senator
from Kansas yield to me for a
Mr. Burton With pleasure.
Mr. Foraker Mr. President, I
have never seen this amendment
until just at this moment, when it
has been put into my hands. I
never heard it read until it was
read at the desk a few moments
ago; therefore the phraseoloey of it
may be such, when I come to ex
amine it, that possibly I should
want to change it. My interest in
this amendment is due to the fact
that I happen to be the chairman
of the Committee on Pacific Islands
and Porto Rico. The Senate, by
resolution adopted just before the
vacation, authorized a sub-committee
of that committee to visit
the Hawaiian Islands and there
make investigation and then make
report to us as to the results of
their investigation of a number of
subjects. That sub-committee has
returned. They were in the islands
some weeks. I understand they
investigated many subjects, and
that they are preparing an elaborate
rpnnrr nf tlinir invMtitrntirmc
I am told that they found the in
dustrial condition of the islands very
much depressed; that instead of
sugar plantations, as stated by the
Senator from California, they are
operating at a loss. I do not know
what the fact may be, but that is
what the members of the subcom
mittee have informally reported to
me; that the trouble is not that'they
can not get cheap labor but rather
that they can not get enough labor.
The natives are not satisfactory la
borers, on the plantations at least,
and many of them will not labor at
all. The only satisfactory labor they
have been able to get is the Chinese
labor. They want to be saved from
the consequences of this ruinous
depression, and in that behalf, they
want us so to legislate as to allow,
in a restricted and safe way, some
Chinese labor. I say restricted and
safe, having in view our legislation
on the general subject of bringing
into that island Chinese laborers.
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