These descriptions are from newspapers articles written at the time of the voyage of the S.S. Hankow in 1883
April 1883 – July 1883
The steamship, Hankow, left Madeira at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday, the 26th of April 1883, bound for Ponta Delgada, St. Michael, after having embarked 952 souls, equal to 731 1/2 adult passengers then continued on westerly gales to arrival at St. Michael, Sunday April 29, 1883 at 10:15 a.m. and left St. Michael at 7:50 p.m., Wednesday, May 2, 1883, having embarked 489 souls, equal to 406 1/4 passengers of adult age, making a total of 1441 souls equal to 1137 adult passengers. Thursday, May 3, 1883 at 10:00 a.m. the German bark “Prince Albert” spoke German stating weather all clear and fair ahead. May 17, 1883, passed steamship “Lamport and Holt” fine and good weather to the Straits of Magellan. Entered the Straits of Magellan on Sunday May 27, and at 5:15 p.m., Wednesday, May 30th, they cleared the Straits of Magellan. They arrived at Coronal Harbor, Chile, Thursday, June 13, at 9 p.m.. Nice weather prevailed and arrived in Honolulu, Saturday, July 7, 1883.
The ship has 3 passenger cabins and was under the command of Captain Robertson. The Portuguese population has increased by the arrival of the steamship, S.S. Hankow, on Saturday evening with 1,403 immigrants on board. During the voyage from the Azores, there were 57 deaths amongst the children from measles, and 19 births. The men all appeared pleased at the arriving in port, and spoke well of the kindness of the Captain and the officers of the ship. The immigrants all of whom are under contract will be landed today, and immediately forwarded to their destinations.
At the Immigration Depot, the Royal Hawaiian Band played for nearly 3 hours yesterday noon. There was a very large attendance of people in addition to the Portuguese immigrants for whose amusement the concert was given. They seem to be thoroughly enjoying the treat, crowding around the band, laughing and chatting and indulging in a Fandango. Mr. Berger selected several well-known Portuguese tunes and airs. His Majesty, King Kalakaua was present and enjoyed the concert thoroughly.
By the arrival of the S.S. Hankow on Saturday, another considerable addition was made to our population. It has been a question often raised in the minds if the interest of labor are well-served or not by the arrival of Portuguese immigrants. It has been complained that they are a very heavy burden on the planters, who, up to the present time are the chief resource of the Gov’t for locating and settling the new arrivals. No doubt there is quite a burden imposed in the charge of so many women and children as accompany each shipment of laborers, yet on the other hand, the planters should consider that, were it not for this immigration, there would be far less disposition of the part of the Chinese immigrants to take service on the terms that are offered them and which the planters can afford.
We think that the recent arrival by the Abergeldie had quite a determining influence on the very large numbers of Chinese, who were at the time, flocking into the country, and who so readily engaged to ship on the plantation, but who would doubtless have held out for higher and more exorbitant terms had it not been for the immediate arrival of those Portuguese and the news that others would shortly follow. When the planters contribute somewhat to support the surplus population in the Portuguese element, they are at the same time assisting the labor market to inducing the Chinese to engage at reasonable rates. The kind of labor generally preferred in this country for plantation work is the native labor, yet, this is difficult and in some places impossible to obtain, nor is the supply likely to increase. Settling aside the native, the question arises as the Portuguese or the Chinese fulfill our requirements to the best advantage, no other kind of labor having been tried to any great extent. At some plantations, the Chinese are preferred, having especially adapted for indoor work at the mills. Then again, they are said to be equally cultivating in the fields as the Portuguese and more so in taking charge of stock. On the other hand, the Portuguese are preferred for their general superiority in out-of-door work and sometimes utilized for mill work in preference to the Chinese. The Portuguese settle down in their homes; cultivate their gardens with great success and industry and we never hear instances of their running away. The Chinese, on the other hand is of a migratory disposition, has no home and sometimes bolts, to the great annoyance and expense of his employer. Yet, on the other hand, he is preferred to his brother laborer on account of his cheerfulness. It seems to us to be manifest that there should be 2 or more classes of laborers on these Islands: one, to keep in check of the other. Let anyone reflect for a moment what the consequence would be if no more Portuguese were to arrive during the next 12 months.
Plantations are increasing in size and numbers so that more laborers would be required and should planters be left to the dictation and mercy of the Chinese, what would be the result? It would probably result in the impossibility of some planters continuing their operations without serious pecuniary loss, not only to themselves, but indirectly, perhaps to the country. The effects will be so serious that it is almost impossible to contemplate them, and we feel assured that they can only be obviated by keeping up the supply of Portuguese immigrants to a reasonable extent, thus preventing the entire control of the labor market from falling into hands of any one class.
The above are excerpts from the ships log as the Portuguese made their journey to the Sandwich Isles, Terra Nova, Hawaii. Taken from the Pacific Commercial Advertiser. On microfilm at the Hawaii State Library.
Thank you to Sandy Sakai for this contribution.
© 2003 Melody Lassalle