‘Native Tenants’


“Kamehameha I was the founder of the kingdom, and to him belonged all the land from one end of the islands to the other, though it was not his own private property. It belonged to the chiefs and people in common, of whom Kamehameha I was the head, and had the management of the landed property.” (Constitution 1840)

“When the Islands were conquered by Kamehameha I, he followed the example of his predecessors, and divided out the lands among his principal warrior chiefs, retaining, however, a portion in his hands, to be cultivated or managed by his own immediate servants or attendants.”

“Each principal chief divided his lands anew, and gave them out to an inferior order of chiefs, or persons of rank, by whom they were subdivided again and again; after passing through the hands of four, five or six person; from the King down to the lowest class of tenants.”

“All these persons were considered to have rights in the lands, or the productions of them. The proportions of these rights were not very clearly defined, but were nevertheless universally acknowledged.”

“The tenures were in one sense feudal, but they were not military, for the claims of the superior on the inferior were mainly either for produce of the land or for labor, military service being rarely or never required of the lower orders.”

“All persons possessing landed property, whether superior landlords, tenants or sub-tenants, owed and paid to the King not only a land tax, which he assessed at pleasure, but also, service which was called for at discretion, on all the grades, from the highest down.”

“They also owed and paid some portion of the productions of the land, in addition to the yearly taxes. They owed obedience at all times. All these were rendered not only by natives, but also by foreigners who received lands from Kamehameha I and Kamehameha II, and by multitudes still alive …”

“… of this there are multitudes of living witnesses, and a failure to render any of these has always been considered a just cause for which to forfeit the lands.”

“It being therefore fully established, that there are but three classes of persons having vested rights in the lands—1st, the Government, 2nd, the landlord (Chiefs and Konohiki,) and 3rd, the tenant (Makaʻāinana,) it next becomes necessary to ascertain the proportional rights of each.”

“Happily, evidence on this point is not wanting, though it may be the most difficult one to settle satisfactorily of any connected with land claims. The testimon