Echoes of Oregon History Learning Guide
Sandwich Islander Tax Bill, 1845
Transcript of original document:
An Act concerning the introduction of Sandwich Islanders or natives from any of the adjoining islands
Sec 1 Be it enacted by the house of Representatives of Oregon Territory as follow- That all persons who shall hereafter introduce into Oregon Territory any Sandwich Islanders or natives from any of the neighboring Islands for a term of Service shall pay a tax of five dollars for each person so introduced
Sec 2 Each and every person in this Territory shall pay a tax of three dollar per annum for each and every Sandwich Islander or any native from a neighbouring Island that they keep in their service for a term of years
Sec 3 The revenue arising from said tax shall be assessed and collected as other Taxes are assessed and collected, and paid into the Territorial Treasury the same time the other Territorial Revenue is paid in.
This Act to take effect and be in force from and after ist passage
Sandwich Islanders, now known as Hawaiians, came to Oregon as seamen. Many remained in Oregon to work under contract as laborers, servants, and craftsmen. Sandwich Islanders helped build the missions of Jason Lee and Marcus Whitman. Some Sandwich Islanders remained in Oregon and became gold miners during the 1850s. This bill dates from a time when the Hudson's Bay Company was importing Sandwich Islanders. It is an attempt to raise revenue by taxing employers of these Islanders, and it reflects the notion that they will not become permanent residents of Oregon.
Words and Terms
For Further Discussion
1. Why would the legislature tax Sandwich Islanders working in Oregon?
2. What does this document tell you about the attitude of white Oregonians toward Sandwich Islanders?
3. Do you think the territorial government would have received much money from this tax?