Assistant Dean W.R. Castle, Jr., '00, delivered a most interesting illustrated lecture on "Hawaii" in the Living Room of the Union last evening.
Before showing the stereopticon views, Mr. Castle gave an outline of the origin, religion, and government of the inhabitants previous to the discovery of the island by Captain Cook in 1775. Their origin is doubtful, but they probably came to Hawaii about 1000 years ago from the other islands of the Southern Pacific. In religion they were heathens, worshiping many minor gods and one supreme deity, until the coming of missionaries in the early part of the nineteenth century. Up to 1750, each island was a separate monarchy, but in that year one king succeeded in conquering the others, and Hawaii remained one united kingdom until 1895, when a republic was established. The Spanish-American war undoubtedly hastened its annexation to the United States, as a coaling station in the east was a necessity at that time; but eventually the islands would have applied for admittance to the Union on account of the prevailing preference for the United States instead of Japan. The Japanese, however, form by far the largest element of the population there being 70,000 of them, mostly laborers, on the islands. They far outnumber all other classes put together.
Following this account, Mr. Castle described, with the aid of lantern slides, the present condition of the island and its inhabitants. With the present line of steamers, Honolulu is six days from San Francisco and eleven days from Japan. The modern improvements are not confined to the steamers, for electric cars and telephones are as common in Hawaii as in the cities of the western United States. The old natives, and the ancient church, built of solid coral blocks, are now the only remains of the native kingdom. The climate is that of the tropics and the bathing is unusual. One of the sports which no tourist should miss is that of "surfing." To do this one mans a dug-out canoe built with an outrigger, and paddles about half a mile off shore. The ride on the top of an in-rushing wave is comparable only to coasting or skiing. The scenery of the island is famous the world over; for the north side of Honolulu slopes precipitously into the sea from a height of over 4,000 feet. The largest extinct volcano in the world, with a crater many miles in diameter, is one of the many wonders of the island. Back from the coast are miles and miles of green sugar plantations.