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Mark Twain
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The Trouble Starts At Eight 1865-1866
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Our Fellow Savages of the Sandwich Islands
 
 

“These islands were discovered some eighty or ninety years ago by Captain Cook, though another man came very near discovering them before, and he was diverted from his course by a manuscript found in a bottle. He wasn’t the first man who has been diverted by suggestions got out of a bottle. When these islands were discovered the population was about 400,000, but the white man came and brought various complicated diseases, and education, and civilization, and all sorts of calamities, and consequently the population began to drop off with commendable activity. Forty years ago they were reduced to 200,000, and the educational and civilizing facilities being increased they dwindled down to 55,000, and it is proposed to send a few more missionaries and finish them. It isn’t the education or civilization that has settled them; it is the imported diseases, and they have all got the consumption and other reliable distempers, and to speak figuratively, they are retiring from business pretty fast. When they pick up and leave we will take possession as lawful heirs.”—Source: Mark Twain, “Our Fellow Savages of the Sandwich Islands” lecture, 1866

Honolulu Harbor
Honolulu Harbor
Courtesy of the Hawaiian Historical Society
 
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In Hawaii with Surveyors
In Hawaii with Surveyors
Courtesy of Lori Cagwin Leavy, Dorothy Demare
Correspondence from Hawaii, 1866
Correspondence from Hawaii, 1866

“Ladies and gentlemen: The next lecture in this course will be delivered this evening, by Samuel L. Clemens, a gentleman whose high character and unimpeachable integrity are only equalled by his comeliness of person and grace of manner. And I am the man! I was obliged to excuse the chairman from introducing me, because he never compliments anybody and I knew I could do it just as well.”—Mark Twain, “Our Fellow Savages of the Sandwich Islands” lecture, 1866

 
 
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