Autograph letter, signed. To Paul Isenberg. Makaowae, Maui, 30 July 1873
4to (9 7/8 x 7 7/8 in.; 250 x 198 mm.). 2 pages, written in purple ink, signed "J. M. Alexander"; some dampstains obscuring, but not obliterating, a few words, formerly folded, tiny tear at one fold.
organizing in support of the pearl river cession treaty
In 1873 a U.S. military commission proceeded, under secret instructions from the Secretary of War, to examine the different ports of the Hawaiian Islands with reference to their defensive capabilities and their commercial facilities. The development of the Pearl River lagoon would be of inestimable value to the planters and other commercial interests on the Islands. King Lunalilo was petitioned by the Honolulu Chamber of Commerce in February 1873 to negotiate a reciprocal treaty with the U.S., and in this resolution the suggestion was made that the Pearl River lagoon be offered to the U.S. as an inducement.
The present letter is an attempt by James M. Alexander, corresponding secretary of the Maui Agricultural Association and one of the many sons of William Paterson Alexander (1805-1884), to organize "influential men on the other Islands to form similar associations to be auxiliary to each other with a common policy and concerted actions. It does not seem necessary to urge that without such unions ... we cannot effect much ... against any political aspirants who inflame the prejudices of the ignorant against those possessing the wealth, intelligence and best character of the nation ..." A treaty was ultimately consummated in 1875.
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