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Chinese immigration Williams, S. Wells (Samuel Wells), 1812-1884 1879

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%«*>* (&UoJ<u 34
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A Paper Read before the Social Science Association,
at Saratoga, September 10, 1879.
743 and 745 Broadway
The question of Chinese immigration has drawn to
it a degree of attention since the immigrants began to
land in this country thirty years ago, which can hardly
be explained by their numbers, their conduct, or their
capacity. The total arrivals from China during a quarter of a century have not equaled the number of persons which have landed at New York from Europe in
six months during most of those same years. Their
behavior, under great provocation, has excited no commotion ; nor has their learning, power, skill, or bigotry
been such as to give any reasonable ground for alarm.
It is not easy to account for the excitement on rational
grounds, or to explain the many unfounded statements
against the Chinese which have passed current, even
after their inaccuracy has been shown. . A good*deal
of the discussion has arisen from the different views
taken as to what might grow out of their presence or
increase. Some, drawing on their fears for their facts,
regard them as the first ripple of an overwhelming flood
of ignorance, poverty, heathenism, and vice; while
others, speaking from experience, after trying them in
various capacities, assure us that the Chinese are docile,
temperate, thrifty, and industrious, and have great capacity for improvement. 4 Chinese Immigration.
My present object is to describe the origin, kind, and
prospects of this immigration, the conduct and the
rights of the immigrants, with notices of their treatment,
so as to come to an intelligent idea of the question.
Few incidents in the last few months have had a more
picturesque setting in regard to the actors, the place of
meeting, and the subject talked of, than the interview
held last April between General Grant and the Chinese
merchants at Georgetown, in Pulo Penang. This island
owes its commercial importance to the industry and
skill of its twelve thousand Chinese settlers, who, under the care and control of the British Government,
have made it a mart for the traffic of the neighboring
islands and continent. They met the late President of
the United States, in his journey around the globe.
His position as a mere traveler offered to their minds,
no doubt, something anomalous and almost, inexplicable, but still invested with a scantling of its original
power. They presented him with an address, whose
subject was equally remarkable with the origin of the
interlocutors, for they asked him to use his influence to
secure a fair and liberal treatment for their countrymen
in America, and to remove any restrictions which had
been imposed on their freedom to come and go, the
same as any other nation. He told them, in reply,
I that the hostility of which they complained did not
represent the real sentiment of America ; but was the
work of demagogues, who in that, as in other countries,
pander to prejudice against race or nationality and favor
any measure of oppression that might advance their
political interests. He never doubted and no one could
doubt that, in the end, no matter what effect the agitation for the time being might have, the American people would treat the Chinese with kindness and justice,
and not deny to the free and deserving people of their Chinese Immigration.
country  the  asylum  they  offer  to  the   rest  of  the
I believe that this witness spoke truly. The discussions in the West and the East, in the pulpit and in
Congress, will all tend to bring out the truth and help
to maintain our national character for fairness and justice in relation to the Chinese. China itself is one of
the best misrepresented countries in the world, and her
people have been subject to the most singular diversity
of opinion from writers and travelers, whose books have
shown that they had had no opportunity to revise first
impressions, or correct errors, and yet have furnished
most of the statements relied on for the estimate taken
of Chinese civilization. Now that scholars have increased, our acquaintance with the arts, culture, government, and literature of the sons of Han will help us
better to understand the causes which have operated to
make them, under the blessing of God, as much of a
nation as they are.
They form one of the purest of existing races, and
have occupied the eastern confines of Asia from very
early times. The people are so often called Mongols
in this country that it is concluded that they are of the
same race as the nomads of the steppes. We may call
them Turanians, if it be necessary to indicate their early
race affinities ; but it is unjust to apply a term which
only dates from Genghis Khan, in the 13th century,
fully 3,000 years after their history begins. His grandson, Kublai, conquered China, and his family held sway
over the empire for 83 years, under eleven emperors.
All of them learned the elements of regular government from their subjects, whose manners, language,
laws, and religion were generally adopted. Their expulsion left the Chinese to themselves, and the Mongols
or Tartars, as they are now usually called, have been
♦since mostly under the control of their former subjects.
ii »6 Chinese Immigration*
The present rulers of China belong to neither of these
"races; but to the Manchu, which has occupied the
northeastern shores of Asia since the ioth century.
This race ruled the northern provinces of China for
^about 120 years, till a.d. 1232, when Genghis Khan
^destroyed their power and drove them back into their
original haunts. They again grew powerful, and by a
fortunate stroke repossessed themselves of Peking, in
1644, and have since ruled the empire with great prudence and vipor.
It is, therefore, an entire misnomer to call the Chinese Mongols, and I am sure that many persons use it
In ignorance of the facts of the case. I am well aware
Jiow the term Mongolian is used by writers to include
Laplanders, Tartars, Chinese, Japanese, with the Esquimaux and other Indian tribes, under one race; but we
wrongly use it to designate a people occupying the
Chinese Empire only. The old Aztecs and Iroquois,
in this continent, were more alike in most respects than
the Chinese and their neighbors in Central Asia, and^
they feel chagrined to be thus designated. Not a
Mongol, to my knowledge, has ever landed in this
•country, and none are likely to come, any more than
are the Arabians or Brahmins.
The southern Chinese alone have immigrated to
foreign lands ; and until recently went only to the Indian Archipelago, Siam, and India. This portion of
the people is less pure as a race than their countrymen
north of the Yangtse River, having early mingled with
old Malayan tribes living south of the Nanling range in
the province of Kwangtung. This mixed race exhibits
some physical differences from their northern countrymen, the results of amalgamation, climate, and food ;
but is now quite the same in language, institutions, and
religion.    The people are smaller and more swarthy, Chinese Immigration.
riave more commercial enterprise, are better educated,
and exhibit higher mechanical skill.
Only six departments or prefectures, lying along the
coasts of the two provinces of Kwangtung and Fuhkien,
from Hing-hwa near Fuhchau, to Shau-king, west of
Canton, have furnished all the emigrants to other lands.
The emigration into Malaysia and the Indian Islands
has been going on for two centuries, and its results
have been greatly to the advantage of the native states.
Wherever the Chinese have come into actual conflict
with Europeans it has been only with regard to trade
and taxes, and never on account of their attempts to
set up independent governments. The prosperity of
Luconia, Siam, and Borneo has been largely owing to
this element of their population ; and even in Java,
where the Dutch closed their ports against them in
1840, they have recently been invited to return, as mechanics and traders.
The custom of these Southern Chinese has been to
pass to and fro; and, though most of the emigrants remained where they landed, thousands returned to their
homes. This gradually diffused a knowledge of foreign
countries and people throughout these coast regions,
and made it easier for the natives to go to the Gold
Hills when the report came in 1849 of the discoveries
in California and Australia. A few went first to San
Francisco, and their favorable reports spread through
the towns around Canton, as they showed the dust they
had brought. In 1854, the emigration began to assume
larger proportions, and foreigners gave every facility to
the emigration, as the business gave profitable employment to their ships.
The foreigners who flocked to California about 1849,
and after, were desirous of getting Chinese labor, so
that every immigrant soon found work.    But about that
t r
:   )1
i; 1
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Chinese Immigration.
year the Cubans, Peruvians, and English were also desirous of importing Chinese laborers into their colonies ;
and the ignorance of the latter of all foreign countries
led them to readily infer that when once out of China
they would at last reach the Gold Hills. This coolie
trade, as it has been since called, was greatly aided by
the free emigration to San Francisco and Melbourne;
but the two were radically different.
During the ten or twelve years ending in 1874, a
marked and well-known distinction between free and
contract emigration was drawn by the natives around
Canton simply by the port the ship sailed from. If she
cleared from Hong-kong, everybody knew that her
passengers were free ; if from Macao, forty miles west
of it, all knew that they were coolies—or as the native
term, chu-tsai, i. e. pigs in baskets, described them—
and would probably never come back. So marked
had this distinction become that the Portuguese had
made a term from this phrase, chuchairo, to denote a
coolie broker. In 1873 *ne atrocities connected with
this business had become so outrageous that the Portu-
guese Government, at the urgent remonstrance of the
British Government, put a stop to the shipment of all
contract Chinese from Macao, and brought the evils to
an end. Their recital would be only a repetition of the
modes in which reckless cupidity, irresponsible power,
crafty misrepresentation and cunning, well-planned
temptation, or outrageous violence and callousness, all
united to get the advantage over ignorance, poverty,
and want. The Chinese authorities at Canton issued
stringent regulations to punish and restrain crimps and
other agents ; but the laws were mostly a dead letter.
The native kidnappers were sometimes caught by their
countrymen, and put to death, with excruciating tortures, crucifixion, and burning.    Still, so long as the Chinese Immigration. 9
coolies could be shipped from Macao, the trade went
on, to the terror of the community in which it thrived
and the disgrace of that settlement, till it was confessed
that it never could be conducted with both profit and
These notices of the coolie trade are given because
much has been said in the United States about the
coolies brought here. It may be stated that this word
coolie is not Chinese, but Bengalee. It was originally
the name of a hill tribe in India, whose able-bodied
men were wont to go down to the plains in harvest-
time, just as Irish laborers cross to England at the
same season and return home when it is over. The
name gradually extended to all transient laborers, and
in 1835 such people were hired at Calcutta (under contracts) to go to Mauritius, where laborers were needed*
The application of the word to Chinese contract laborers was easy, for the term was already in use among
foreigners in China for lower house servants and day
laborers. These last, on their part, supposed it to be an
English word, and probably the immigrants, on reaching San Francisco, ready to do any kind of labor, and
not knowing many English words, so called themselves.
There are three different terms in Chinese for house
servants, for day laborers, and for contract coolies ; and
I think that a good deal of our misapprehension as to
the character of those in California has arisen from this
misuse of the word.
The regions to which the coolies were carried included Cuba and Peru (where most of them landed), Jamaica, Trinidad, Demerara, Surinam, Hawaii, Brazil, and
Central America. The Panama Railroad was mostly
built by them, taken there in American ships. The only
attempt to bring them to this country, which I have heard
of, was made by some persons in New Orleans; but
\ 1 IO
Chinese Immigration.
I am not aware how it succeeded. The total number
of men thus carried away was probably over 300,000>
of whom 142,422 landed at Havana between 1847
and 1874. Out of the whole, I do not think that 5oo
•ever escaped or returned home ; and I am inclined to
believe that over two-thirds of them all went abroad
willingly, though ignorantly.
During these same years, men were going and returning from San Francisco and Melborne, with stories
of their success. The total arrivals at the former port
between i852 and 1878, according to the custom house
records, was 230,430, of whom 133,491 returned home
or died, leaving 96,939 in the country, not including
births. | Spofforth's Almanac " for 1878 gives the arrivals in all the United States between i855 and 1877
at 191,118. At this rate, it will probably take a century
before half a million will find a footing in our wide do-
main, and that too against the competition of the owners and settlers of the soil and the skilled labor of our
artisans. If two-fifths returned home when the land
was open and calling for laborers, and the building of
railroads gave work and wages to thousands of these
hands, is it not as certain as a thing can be, on these
facts, that the supply of workmen will be proportioned
to the demand ? On our eastern shores almost half a
million of immigrants landed at New York in 1872
alone; while the total number of arrivals from Europe
for 30 years, ending in 1878, was 8,200,000, or more
than one-sixth of our present population.
Nearly all the Chinese have come here from a strip of
territory not much larger than the State of Connecticut,
lying south and southwest of the city of Canton. Some
alarmists said last year that myriads from the famine-
stricken provinces in Northern China were to be brought
to our shores ; but not an emigrant has ever sailed from Chinese Immigration.
Shanghai or Tientsin for California. All have gone
from Hongkong. The province of Kwangtung, of which
Canton is the capital, measures 79,456 square miles,
and its inhabitants speak many local dialects, which
tends to crystallize them into separate communities, and
has great influence on emigration, because it is only
those who speak the same dialect who naturally go together. A man from Canton, meeting one from Amoy,
Fuhchau, Ningpo, Tientsin, or Hankow, would be unintelligible to each of them, as they severally would be
to each other; and this feature almost compels emigrants
to follow the lead already opened. Thus Swatow furnishes those for Siam, Amoy does those for Manila,
Kia-ying for Borneo, and five districts in the central
and southwest parts of Kwangtung province were the
homes of those now in Australia and the United States.
Their names are Sin-hwui, Sin-ning, Kai-ping, Ngan-
ping and Hiang-shan. For those coming from each of
these five districts, or counties, a company has been
formed in San Francisco to look after their welfare and
to help them while in America. A sixth company does
the same for all the immigrants from other places. The
inducements and help of friends and the reports of returning miners have had great influence in stimulating
their departure. Fears are entertained by some persons,
however, that, if the gap thus opened in the vast population of the Chinese Empire be not stopped by limiting
the number in one vessel to fifteen, or by abrogating the
Burlingame Treaty, it will continue to run like a leak
in a mill-dam, till we are all swamped. These are as
baseless as the fear that the Indians are going to unite
in a league to regain their ancestral hunting-grounds.
Men do not change their homes and allegiance without
adequate inducements and rewards, which are all wanting in this case.
I :   . .-^i——":.L^i.   '.r.\~~.'..
Chinese Immigration.
Two or three other causes, besides the different dialects, have much influence in hindering Chinese emi-
gration. One is their pride of country, which leads
them to look upon those who go out of it as most unfortunate, running great risks of their lives, and putting
themselves in the power of cruel and ignorant barbarians. Though there is now no law in force forbidding
emigration, public opinion strongly discourages it, and
the love of home acts against it.
A second deterrent cause is a strong; sectional an-
tipathy between the natives of different provinces, and
even parts of the same province, leading them to shun
each other like the clans of Scotland in the olden time-
In Kwangtung, constant strifes arise between settlers
and squatters, called pun-ti and hak-ka, often resulting
in much loss of life. This repugnance tends to confine
the immigrants to our shores to the districts near Canton. Further strong influences are at work to detain
those who are in office or belong to the gentry, and
those who have property or are in business. Besides
these, the ties of family and claims of infirm, needy, and
sick dependants compel myriads to stay. The numbers,
which seem to be great here, are not missed there..
Their departure or return makes no impression nor
stimulates other throngs to do likewise. The men we
have are the common peasantry from country districts
—young and healthy, thrifty and industrious, willing-
to work and make their way in the world. They are
neither paupers nor lepers, and certainly not criminals,,
for such could not get away nor obtain the aid or
security needed. China has not yet learned how to dispose of her criminals this way. Most of them can read
a little. Hundreds get over by borrowing money on
high interest, to be repaid as they earn it, the lenders
risking it on their life and habits.    One hears so much Chinese Immigration.
of the serfs, slaves, coolies, peons, Mongols, and such
like poured on our shores, that very erroneous notions
of their character prevail. One official document even
described them as " voluntary slaves by the unalterable
structure of their intelligent being." Complaint has
t>een often made that the immigrants bring no families ;
but custom is too strong for the women to leave home
to any extent. I think, when we consider how timid
and ignorant they are—many of them crippled by
cramping the feet—that, under the circumstances, it has
been better as it is. Their sufferings would have probably been great, unable as most of them are to speak
English, the objects of obloquy, and exposed to manifold temptations.
The new constitution of California gives us the intentions of the opponents of Chinese labor in Art. XIX.,
and shows the ignorance of its framers by the impossibility of carrying out its provisions. Some of them are
in violation of the laws and constitution of the United
States. "Asiatic coolieism is prohibited ; but is not
defined. It was needless, however ; for Asiatic coolieism had never existed in California, or any other State
of the Union. It had already been declared to be
illegal and piratical by Congress, and the law-makers
might have fortified their position by referring to the
Act approved February 19th, 1862, before inserting the
following extraordinary section in the organic law of
their State :
" Sect. 4. The presence of foreigners ineligible to
become citizens of the United States is declared to be
dangerous to the well-being of the State, and the legislature shall discourage their immigration by all the
means within its power. Asiatic coolieism is a form
of human slavery, and is forever prohibited in this State,
and all contracts for coolie labor shall be void. All
companies  or  corporations,  whether  formed  in  this H
Chinese Immigration.
country or any foreign country, for the importation of
such labor shall be subject to such penalties as the legislature may prescribe. The legislature shall delegate
all necessary power to the incorporated cities and towns
of this State for the removal of Chinese without the
limits of such cities and towns, or for their location
within prescribed portions of those limits ; and it shall
also provide the necessary legislation to prohibit the
introduction into the State of Chinese after the adoption
of this constitution. This section shall be enforced by
appropriate legislation.§
If history repeats itself, legislation does so far more
frequently ; for here are the silly laws of China and
mediaeval Europe re-enacted in our Republic, and making new Ghettos for Chinamen near every town in
California. This whole section reads more like the bylaws of a mining company, trying to keep its claim
intact from the encroachments of other companies by
erecting a fence around its land, than the deliberate
result of a convention of wise men met to make a State
constitution. It is not stated who are the foreigners
ineligible to become citizens ; nor is it defined how the
company formed in a foreign country for the importation of coolie labor, even before it has done anything,
is to be made subject to the penalties of a California
legislature ; nor how that State is going to execute
laws prohibiting the introduction of Chinese into its
borders, in face of a treaty between China and the
United States. These points are left for the wisdom
of a future legislature to attend to.
I have stated that an act of Congress is in existence
prohibiting the introduction of contract laborers from
China, or any other land, into the United States. In
January, 1867, the following resolution unanimously
passed both houses of Congress :
If Whereas, The traffic in laborers, transported from Chinese • Immigration.
China and other Eastern countries, known as the coolie
trade, is odious to the people of the United States, as
inhuman and immoral; and
" Whereas, It is abhorrent to the spirit of modern
international law and policy, which have substantially
extirpated the African slave-trade, to permit the establishment in its place of a mode of enslaving men differing from the former in little else than the employment
of fraud, instead of force, to make its victims captive i
be it, therefore,
" Resolved, That it is the duty of this Government to-
give effect to the moral sentiment of the nation, through
all its agencies, for the purpose of preventing the further
introduction of coolies into this hemisphere or the adjacent islands."
This resolution was a proper expression of public
opinion ; but it never prevented a single coolie afterward landing at Havana or Callao, any more than its
tone would lead one to suppose that a hundred thousand coolies had already landed at San Francisco,,
through the agency of the six companies. The opponents of Chinese immigration have so persistently
declared that those who land in this country are coolies,,
that the burden of proof, after what has been said, must
rest with them. It is not a mere question of the meaning of terms. Even so distinguished a man as Senator
Blaine seems to have got the idea that the men now
arriving in San Francisco are the same class of people
designated in this resolution. He certainly ought, for
his own credit, to have learned the facts of the case,
before he accused the Chinese Government, as he did,,
of violating the Treaty, by declaring from his seat in
the Senate, that, 1 in the sense in which we get immigration from Europe, there never has one Chinese
immigrant come to these shores. . . . The Chinese
Government agreed to enforce the provision that there
should  be  nothing  else  than  voluntary  emigration.
II1 i6
Chinese Immigration.
They have never done it. The Treaty stands broken
and defied by China from the hour it was made to the
present time. We had to legislate against it. We
legislated against it in the Coolie Law. The Chinese
were so palpably and so flagrantly violating it, that
statutes of the United States were enacted to contravene the evil they were doing; and it has gone on,
probably not so grossly as before, but in effect the
It is enough to say, in reply to this charge of breaking the Treaty, that the Chinese authorities, both central and provincial, had passed many laws to restrain
and prevent the coolie trade, and that the last act
against it passed by our Congress was on February
19th, 1862, more than six years before Mr. Burlingame
signed the Treaty. When that Treaty was negotiating,
in July, 1868, no one at Washington brought up the
charge that the Chinese Government had been for
years sending coolies to California, nor were the immigrants then so generally stigmatized as serfs, coolies,
peons, slaves, and Mongol hordes, for their labor was
needed. I crossed the Pacific in i860 in a ship with
three hundred and sixteen Chinamen, not one of whom
had a contract, and three-fourths of them came from
two villages. No Chinese ship has ever yet crossed
the ocean; consequently no Chinese has ever brought
coolies to this country, and the blame of violating the
Treaty could not rightly rest on that Government.
Certainly, if there is one matter in which the American
and Chinese Governments have been of one mind, it is
the restriction of the coolie trade ; while all the difficulties, the responsibilities, and the sufferings, too, have
been on the part of the latter.
The majority of members in the Congressional Committee sent to California in 1876 were against Chinese Chinese Immigration.
immigration. It obtained much evidence in support of
their views ; but none of the witnesses could produce
a contract for bringing a single coolie from China. I
have seen thousands and thousands of these contracts
in Chinese and Spanish or English, containing the
terms obliging the coolies to go abroad for so many
years at such wages, and their stipulations are plain
and explicit.
I come now to a consideration of the Treaty which
exists between China and this country. The bill which
passed Congress last February, intended to restrict
Chinese immigration, had this undignified feature (a
solitary instance in our national legislation), that it
covertly abrogated this Treaty, without even referring
to its existence ; without citing an instance of its violation ; and, what was worse, without first informing the
other party. Its passage was quite unexpected ; but it
aroused quick remonstrances from State legislatures,
from colleges, from missionary societies, from chambers
of commerce, and from distinguished citizens, all alike
presenting their reasons to the President against his
In its Treaty with China, this nation has solemnly
pledged its faith to firm, lasting, and sincere friendship
with that empire ; it has promised that the people of
the United States should not, for any trifling cause,
insult or oppress the people of China, so as to produce
an estrangement between them; the Federal Government has covenanted that Chinese subjects in the United States should be exempt from all disability or persecution on account of their religious faith; it has
asserted that there is mutual advantage from the free
migration and emigration of the people of the United
States and China respectively, from the one country to
the other, for the purposes of curiosity, trade, or per-
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Chinese Immigration.
manent residence ; it has specifically pledged itself that
Chinese subjects residing in the United States should
enjoy the same privileges, immunities, and exemptions
in respect to travel or residence as citizens of the most
favored nation ; and, finally, as if to place all stipulations in the Treaty on the highest moral basis, it invokes, in what is called the Toleration Article, as the
standard of dealing between the two nations, the Christian sentiment that the principles of the Christian religion teach men to do good, to do to others as they
would that others should do to them. In all these ways
the Governor of Nations had beforehand placed the
United States under peculiar liens toward this ancient
kingdom to treat it with justice and patience. Some of
the stipulations have a present application which could
not have been anticipated when they were signed and
I would urge the maintenance of this Treaty, not
alone on the high ground which the President takes in
lis veto—that it is not the function of Congress to
make new treaties or modify existing ones, and 1 that
the denunciation of a treaty by any government is confessedly justifiable only upon some reason, both of the
highest justice and of the highest necessity "—but on the
higher ground that we shall sin against right and justice if we do not. The highest expression of a nation's
voice is in its treaties ; they form almost the only declaration of its honor which other nations can appeal to.
The denunciation of the conduct of the last king of
Judah, for his violation of his covenant with the king
of Babylon, stands on the sacred page as the highest
attestation of the sacred character of such compacts.
Says the prophet Ezekiel, speaking of king Zedekiah's
conduct: Chinese Immigration.
" Seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when, lo, he had given his hand, and hath done
all these things, he shall not escape. Therefore, thus
saith the Lord God, As I live, surely mine oath that
he hath despised, and my covenant that he hath broken,
even it will I recompense upon his own head."
I do not doubt that these words carry much weight
with them still as a word of warning; and I believe
that there is moral strength and principle in the people
of this land quite sufficient to maintain what they have
promised in the treaty with China.
The government of that empire has uniformly admitted its obligations; and, considering its great diffi-
culties, has creditably fulfilled them. The four treaties
signed at Tientsin in i858 were, no doubt, obtained
under great fear and pressure ; but their stipulations
placed international intercourse between the East and
the West on a definite footing', and their operation has
been to teach the secluded rulers of China both their
own rights and their duties toward other nations. Great
progress was shown, eleven years after, in sending Mr.
Burlingame on a complimentary embassy to the powers
with whom the Emperor had made treaties.
When the embassy reached Washington, it was received with great eclat. Among other thing's done during"
its stay was the negotiation of eight additional articles
to the existing Treaty, by plenipotentiaries of the two
governments, who signed them on the 28th of July,
1868. They were ratified by the Senate a few days
afterward, and then forwarded to Peking, to be ratified
by the Emperor, even before they had been submitted
to his perusal. This was not done till the 23d of November, 1869.
Considering the circumstances under which the first
or Reed Treaty was signed, those attending the second 20
Chinese Immigration.
were indicative of great and real progress in the intervening ten years. Its fifth article relates to emigration
from either country, and has drawn great attention in
and out of Congress, as if it stood in the way of our
ridding- ourselves of an unbearable evil in the crowds of
Chinese who had thereby been induced to come to this
country.    It reads:
" The United States of America and the Empire of
China cordially recognize the inherent and inalienable
right of man to change his home and allegiance, and
also the mutual advantage of the free migration and
emigration of their citizens and subjects respectively
from one country to the other, for purposes of curiosity,
of trade, or as permanent residents. The high contracting parties join, therefore, in reprobating any other than
an entirely voluntary emigration for these purposes.
They consequently agree to pass laws making it a penal
offense for a citizen of the United States or Chinese
subject to take Chinese subjects either to the United
States or any other foreign country, or for a Chinese
subject or citizen of the United States to take citizens
of the United States to China or to any other foreign
country without their free and voluntary consent, respectively."
The leading idea in this article is to discourage the
coolie trade, and this public declaration of our Government as to the difference between it and voluntary emigration was not supposed to have any other meaning.
It is hard to see, moreover, how the declaration of an
inalienable right of all men should be supposed to encourage of hinder its exercise ; it could not have incited
emigration, for I am sure that not one in a hundred of
the Chinese who have landed here ever saw it in their
own country. Says Gov. Morton, the chairman of the
Congressional Committee :
" When this Treaty was concluded with China, it was
mm Chinese Immigration.
regarded by the whole nation as a grand triumph of
American diplomacy and principles; and Mr. Burlingame was regarded as a benefactor of his country by
having secured to Americans the protection of the
Chinese Government and the right to live there and trade,
and for having- secured from China a recognition of
what may be called the great American doctrine of the
inherent and inalienable right of man to changfe his
home and his allegiance. For the recognition of this
doctrine, we had been struggling by negotiation ever
since we had a national existence, and had succeeded
with them one by one. Within the last eight years we
have secured its recognition by Germany and other
European states that had long held out against us."
I need not quote from the recorded views of Gov.
Morton on the backward step this country has been
urged to take in regard to Chinese immigration, by
adopting the very policy China itself is forsaking. That
opinion would have been even more decided if he had
lived to join in the Congressional debate of last winter,
and record his vote in the Senate against the bill.
The passage of this bill at that time drew public attention to the treaty rights of the Chinese, and the people sustained the veto of President Hayes, as a judicious,
sound, and timely refusal to yield to a sectional demand
to go back on a lifelong policy in regard to immigration.
That veto saved this Republic from one of the most uncalled-for wrongs to its national reputation, in repudiating a. solemn treaty, in fact, if not in form, without
mentioning a single instance in the bill of the wrong-
doing of the other party, as was done in 1798, when the
treaty with France was abrogated by Congress, and
without first stating to the Chinese our own case. It
would have been hard for us to have made out a grievance. We would never have done so toward a strong
nation, and it was entirely unnecessary to do it toward 22
Chinese Immigration.
a weak one. The new constitution of California has7
however, supplemented the bill by the following sections :
| No corporation now existing or hereafter formed
under the laws of this State shall, after the adoption of
this constitution, employ, directly or indirectly, in any
capacity, any Chinese or Mongolian. The legislature
will pass such laws as may be necessary to enforce this
" No Chinese will be employed on any State, county,
municipal, or other public work, except in punishment
for crime."
The execution of these two sections is likely to cause
some resistance on the part of corporations in that
State, by their restrictions on the labor market—one of
the chimerical objects of the majority of the Convention.
As another instance of unjust (if not impossible)
legislation in the same direction, one where the object
aimed at is almost forgotten in view of the manner in
which it is to be reached, is a bill recently introduced
in the Senate by Mr. Slater, of Oregon. This is what
his bill forbids the hapless Chinaman to do :
"To engage in, carry on, or work at any manufacturing or mechanical business ; or to own or lease, carry on or work any mine, or to own or lease any real
estate for any purpose other than that of lawful commerce and for places of residence ; or to conduct any
farm, garden, vineyard, or orchard, for agricultural,
horticultural, or other like purpose ; or to own, have,
or keep any herd of cattle, horses, sheep, goats, or
swine, for the purpose of making profit by the increase,
product, or use thereof; or to keep any hotel or restaurant for public entertainment (excepting for the use
and accommodation   of the   citizens   and  subjects   of Chinese Immigration. 23
China); or to work or engage to work as mechanic,
artisan, laborer, waiter, servant, cook, clerk, or messenger, or in any other kind of labor, skilled or unskilled,
except for and in the employ of citizens and subjects of
China lawfully engaged in commerce in the United
States or traveling or residing therein."
The bill reads like an edict of Philip or Alva against
heretics, for it declares that the penalty for every violation of these provisions is a fine of not less than #100,
and an imprisonment for not more than six months.
Conviction involves a | forfeiture of all property used
or invested in the prohibited business." No person or
corporation can employ a Chinese in prohibited work
or business, under a penalty of #100 for each offense.
Comment on such regulations could add nothing to
their harshness, their impossibility, or their folly. It
is true, indeed, that they have not yet the force of law,
and I quote them only as an index of the kind of legislation which may be attempted at the next session in
regulating the treatment of these people in the East as
well as in the Pacific States.
I have endeavored to show that the Chinese are here
under the strongest public sanctions of any race, and
ought to be protected in their treaty rights by this nation. They began to come to the Pacific coast at the
invitation of our own people, attracted there, as others
were, by the search for gold. They took up the washed-
out and abandoned diggings at first; but they have
since continued to come and go, because there was a
demand for their labor. We call them Heathen Chineey
and so, unhappily, they are ; but they brought with
them industrious and quiet habits, and during the past
27 years have added largely to the resources and
wealth of this country. They have spread themselves
over that and the neighboring States, wherever their
»! ssaa
Chinese Immigration.
labor was wanted, and have given general satisfaction
in those branches of unskilled labor for which they
were fit. It is impossible to estimate the money value
of this industry ; but the evidence taken by the Morton
Committee proves that, without their help, many enterprises now in full operation would not have been attempted when they were much needed. Among these
enterprises the Pacific Railroad stands prominent, and
one of its leading managers testified that Chinese labor-
ers had given more employment to white laborers than
they could otherwise have got, and that the road could
not have been completed for many years if these Asiatics had not been available. Over a million acres of
tule-lands have been reclaimed, which would otherwise
have lain idle to this day. Irrigating canals for farms,
with dams and sluices for the mines, all owe their existence to this source. One witness stated that without
Chinese aid the. population of California could not be
maintained at more than one-half its present amount;
and in regard to the cultivation of wheat, he assured
the Committee that it could not be profitably raised at
all if the cost of production were increased. I was told
that in September, 1876, about 400,000 bushels were
ready for the sickle, and that this crop could not have
been moved unless Chinese laborers had been there
to put it on board ship at a cheap rate. The only thing
to be done with it was to let it rot or burn it. The
ramifications of labor are so great that every one must
see that it is nearly impossible to separate out one
branch from all the others, and that to place the benefits of Chinese labor at a figure like #300,000,000 or
$400,000,000 is to deceive one's self as to its true value.
It is the way, however, that I we are ruined by cheap
Chinese labor."
How fallacious, therefore, are the statements in the Chinese Immigration.
California Senate Address by which its writers try to
prove the loss to the country caused by this immigration. They roundly assert that the Chinese laborers
make a draft upon the wealth of the nation, take from
instead of adding to its substance,'and have abstracted
from California alone not less than $180,000,000 in
gold, while they have contributed nothing to the State
or national wealth, and prevent a more desirable class
of settlers coming. An estimate is then made that
125,000 male European immigrants would have enriched the State at least $380,000,000, in which total is
included the $180,000,000 carried home by the Chinese.
In this singular sum in political economy, the capital
value of so many European immigrants who had not
yet landed in the State is set over against the actual
earnings of as many Chinese, not one of whom could
have got a cent to carry home until his labor made it
and left its equivalent behind him. If, too, they carried
it and themselves home, could not the writers see that
just so many vacant places were left for the more desirable class ? The very reason alleged against the
Chinese carrying their earnings home is, therefore, incompatible with the fear expressed by the writers of
the unarmed invasion impending from Asia. The impulse which led the immigrants to return should, in
fairness, have been stated as a reason why there was
little to fear as to their coming in vast numbers. But
the one-sidedness of this Address is apparent throughout. If, however, the 125,000 European immigrants
who, if the Chinese had never come, would have enriched the State nearly $400,000,000, have helped to
enact the new constitution now in force, some of the
American inhabitants may think that their presence has
not been all clear gain.
The main arguments of those who have denounced
the Chinese have been founded a good deal upon par-
1   1
m 26
Chinese Immigration.
tial statements of facts which are not denied, and an
exaggeration of evils which have been caused in a
good measure by the bad treatment the Chinese have
received. An instance of this mode of argument appears in this Address, where it describes the expected
ft unarmed invasion' which is to overwhelm the Pacific
slope, and to resist which the Senatorial Committee
calls upon this nation for help :
I Already, to the minds of many, this immigration
begins to assume the nature and proportions of a dangerous, unarmed invasion of our soil. Twenty years
of increasing Chinese immigration will occupy the entire Pacific coast, to the exclusion of the white population. Many of our people are confident that the
whole coast is yet to become a mere colony of China.
All the old empires have been conquered by armed invasions ; but North and South America and Australia
have been wrested from their native inhabitants by
peaceable, unarmed invasions. Nor is this fear entirely
groundless as to the Pacific coast, for it is in keeping
with the principles which govern the changes of modern
dynasties and the advance guard is already upon bur
shores. The immigration which is needed to offset and
balance that from China is retarded by the condition of
the labor question on this coast, and we have reason to
expect that within ten years the Chinese will equal
the whites. In view of these facts, thousands of our
people are beginning to feel a settled exasperation—a
profound sense of dissatisfaction with the situation.
Hitherto this feeling has been restrained and the Chi-
nese have had the full protection of our laws. It may
be true that at rare intervals acts of violence have been
committed towards them ; but it is also true that punishment has swiftly followed. Our city criminal courts invariably inflict a severer punishment for offenses committed upon Chinese than for like offenses committed
against whites. The people of this State have been
more than patient. We are satisfied that the condition
of affairs, as they exist in San Francisco, would not be Chinese Immigration.
tolerated without a resort to violence in any Eastern
city. It is the part of wisdom to anticipate the day
when patience may cease, and by wise legislation avert
its evils. Impending difficulties of this character should
not in this advanced age be left to the chance arbitra-
ment of force. These are questions which ought to be
solved by the statesman and philanthropist, and not by
the soldier."
It has been by such a mixture of facts, fears, and assertions that much of the ill-will against the Chinese
has been fostered. Its influence has probably been
greater than that of any other document issued; for it is
signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the Committee, and few of its readers have the means of verifying
or examining its statements. The single fact, however, that less than 120,000 Chinese, at the highest estimate, even now remain in our borders, indicates the
little depth and force of this unarmed invasion.
This Address was fully answered December 8th,
1877, by a Memorial from the Six Companies addressed
to the Senate and House of Representatives, containing
statements drawn from public documents, and proofs
of its inaccuracy, which could not be denied. The
amounts of poll and other taxes paid by the Chinese in
the State were far beyond the proportion paid by other
inhabitants, especially in the miner's tax. Every page
of this Memorial bears evidence of the carefulness with
which it was written, in view of the scrutiny which
would assail its assertions. It has borne the examination ; but in the Eastern States it has not been made
known as widely as the Address. The contrast between the writers and the objects, arguments, and animus of the two documents is one of the most singular
and instructive in the history of the American people.
The charges brought against the British Crown by our 28
Chinese Immigration.
fathers in the Revolution, detailing the bad treatment
' o
experienced by the colonists, did not compare with the
injustice and wrongs which have been suffered by the
Chinese under the laws of California.
In face of the assertion just quoted from the Address,
as to the " severer punishment inflicted upon those who
attacked the Chinese," I abridge a sentence or two of
the argument of Mr. Bee, spoken before the Morton
Committee, in 1876, about a year before the Address
was issued B
" I regret exceedingly, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen,
to bring to your notice scenes and acts which have
transpired upon the streets of San Francisco, which are
a disgrace to any and all civilization. No country, no
government, I undertake to say, has ever permitted the
indignities to be cast upon any race of people that the
government and municipality of San Francisco and
California have permitted upon this class. I have myself seen one of the Pacific Mail steamships hauled into
dock in this city, loaded with 1,000 or i,5oo Chinese.
They were put into express wagons, to be taken to the
Chinese quarter; and I have seen them stoned from
the time they landed till they reached Kearney Street,
leaning out of the wagons with their scalps cut open.
I have seen them stoned when going afoot from the
o o
vessel. No arrests were made, no police interfered. I
do not recollect of ever an arrest being made when the
hoodlums and street Arabs attacked these immigrants.
I say it with shame, that they have no privileges, and
do not seem to have the protection of the laws extended to them in any particular."
This treatment by the hoodlums of that city was corroborated by a clergyman who was giving one reason
for the few conversions among the Chinese, and there
seems to have been no efforts made by the police to
restrain such wrong*-doers.    The writers of the Memo- Chinese Immigration.
rial, in view of these facts, most justly ask the question :
I Where is your boasted independence, when an
agrarian mob dictates what kind of labor you must employ ? Where is your boasted freedom of speech, when
a daily press dare not discuss both sides of a question
or speak a word in favor of an abused and persecuted
stranger ? Where is that liberty your fathers fought
for, that a mob, led by aliens, can undisturbed hold
their daily gatherings, and threaten to hang your best
citizens, burn their property, and denounce them as
thieves ? And where does this lawless element look
for encouragement, but to that class which occupies a
higher political plane, whose exaggerated opinions concerning the Chinese we have quoted."
This memorial also refers to Gov. Irwin's assertion
in his message that the Chinaman has had his rights
o o
adjudicated in the courts with the same fairness that
other immigrants have had theirs; and then asks, What
justice was meted out at Antioch, at Truckee, at Rock-
lin, Penryn, and Secret Ravine, when the property of
Chinese was destroyed, they shot down as they tried
to escape, and all driven away ? They ask if one of
the actors in the July riots of 1877 m San Francisco, when their property was destroyed and a Chinese
murdered for defending his domicile, and his body
thrown into the flames, has ever been punished.
These accusations, charges, rejoinders, etc., all indicate the existence of serious antagonism in the society
of the Pacific States. What are their causes ? The
strength and violence of this antagonism have been
fostered by some peculiar circumstances ; and, as evils
never cure or weaken themselves, we do well to look
at their workings in the light of such facts as are before us.
\ 3°
Chinese Immigration.
To my own mind, there is no fear of a great or irre-
sistible immigration, and the reasons for its increase are
less now than when the country was first opened.
Thirty years have passed since the providence of God
placed this region under the control of a Protestant
nation, and, by disclosing its metallic treasures, after its
sovereignty had been secured, attracted a population
with such rapidity that California alone of all our States
was never a colony or a territory, but arose at once
from its military sway to be a fully organized State.
That population was so ill assorted, too, that its reckless, lawless elements soon became too strong" for the
law-abiding portion, and the Vigilance Committee was
the only remedy to save the State from anarchy. With
hundreds of convicts, escaped from Australia, came
hundreds of | moon-eyed Celestials," as the Chinese
were called. A greater contrast was hardly ever seen
between two classes of immigrants. No power was in
the hands of the latter, and they were ere long exposed
to discriminating legislation, the object of special laws
which taxed away their property without their being
allowed any voice in the matter. As soon as a law of
the State had declared that a Chinese was an Indian,
and its courts affirmed it, he was in reality outlawed.
In 1852, Governor Bigler said there was no provision
in the Treaty with China how Chinese immigrants
should be treated, and that the Chinese Government
would have no right to complain of any law excluding
them from the country, by taxation or otherwise. This
was before the date of the Burlingame Treaty ; but
while an act of the California legislature could not turn
a Chinese into an Indian, any more than an act of
Congress could turn a greenback into a piece of gold,
it could prevent their evidence being taken in court;
it could prevent their fishing or mining, their taking up Chinese Immigration.
land or settling on it; it could prevent their becoming
citizens ; and it did expose them, without remedy, to
the most unjust treatment.
The summary manner in which the courts in California converted the Chinese into Indians, when it was
desired to bring a law to bear against them, has a spice
of the grotesque in it. The physiologist Charles Pickering, includes Chinese and Indians among the mem-
o o
bers of the Mongolian  race ; but the Supreme Court
there held § that the term Indian included the Chinese
or Mongolian race."    It thus upheld a wrong, while it
enunciated a misconception.    It placed the subjects of
the oldest government now existing upon a parity with
a race that has never risen above tribal relations.    It
included under one term a people whose literature dates
its beginning before the Psalms or the Exodus, written
in a language which the judge would not have called Indian, if he had tried to learn it, and containing authors
whose words have influenced more human beings than
any other writings, with men whose highest attainments
in writing have been a few pictures and totems drawn
on a buffalo robe. It equalized all the qualities of industry, prudence, skill, learning, invention, and whatever
gives security to life and property among mankind,
with the instincts and habits of a hunter and a nomad.
It stigmatized a people which has taught us how to
make porcelain, silk, and gunpowder, given us the
compass, shown us the use of tea, and offers us their
system of selecting officials by competitive examinations, by classing them with a race which has despised
labor, has had no arts, schools, or trade, and in the midst
of the Californians themselves were content to dig roots
for a living.
The anomalies growing out of our present laws relating to naturalization are such as to allow the authori-
f 32
Chinese Immigration.
ties in one State of the Union to give the Chinese
citizenship within its borders, while those of another
State may refuse it. The first has been done in New
York, the latter is the rule in California. In 1878,
Judge Sawyer of the U. S. Circuit Court for the District of California, rendered a decision on this point,
quoting Sect. 2169 of the Revised Statutes of the
United States, | that the provisions of this title (33)
shall apply to aliens being free white persons, and to
aliens of African nativity and to persons of African
descent." He decided that Chinese are not by law
entitled to naturalization in this country because they
are not white persons within the meaning of the
statute, and that the intention of Congress was to ex-
elude from naturalization I all but white persons and
persons of African nativity and African descent." This
decision would, therefore, properly exclude all Malays,
Siamese, Burmese, Hindus, and Arabs, but it is an
open and doubtful question whether it would exclude
all Chinese and Japanese. The Chinese now in this
country are more swarthy than their northern countrymen, for they come from just within the tropics ; but
that people occupy a million and more square miles
lying in the temperate zone, and those living in the
northern provinces are about as white as Europeans on
the same latitude ; both are more nearly olive than
white. Three times has this question been decided in
the courts of California in like manner J that the term
Indian included the Chinese or Mongolian race I ' but
it is high time that a question in ethnology and national hue should be examined carefully and settled on
some basis before a judicial sentence carries with it
such consequences.
When all this was done by those in power, then they
declare that the Chinese will not assimilate with us. Chinese Immigration.
1 *7
Senator Blaine describes the result, after the two races
have been living side by side for more than thirty
years, as not one step toward it; but he omits to mention the feelings which have flowed from thirty years'
ill-treatment, as tending" to strengthen the divergence.
o o o
Some might reply that this was only a fair return for
the opprobrious epithets which their countrymen and
rulers have given to all foreigners for hundreds of years
and the ill-usage and the restrictions which these epithets indicated ; but the times of that ignorance we can
well afford to wink at, for they are passing away, and
it is quite too late to use such arguments for our vindication. We are now mutually learning that there is
far more of worth and promise in each other than either
had supposed ; and I believe, after forty-three years' intercourse with the lowest and highest classes, that only
a wider knowledge is needed to cause a higher appreciation. It is reasonable, therefore, that a different status
be given them, and now, that a Chinese legation has
been received at Washington, and a Chinese consul accepted for San Francisco, it is suitable that the countrymen of Yung Wing and Seet Mingcook be no longer
classed with Sioux and Pawnees.
Their helpless condition before the law in early times
in California made them easy victims to violence. It
stimulated the robberies, murders, ejections, and assaults which ere long became so barefaced that a member of the legislature at Sacramento used them as an
argument for allowing the Chinese to testify in courts,
because otherwise white persons would be exposed to
similar violence.
I The wretches who committed these atrocities," as
the Rev. Dr. Speer, in his valuable work, says, I felt
secure under a threefold cover.    First, comparatively
few of the Chinese could speak English or knew how
3 o
Chinese Immigration.
to obtain justice. In the next place, the officers of
justice were too often under the control of the men
who committed the offense, nominated and elected by
them, and the villains let it be known that they would
vote against any man who favored the Chinese. Lastly,
these strangers have not been allowed to speak in an
American court, and say : This was the man who shot
down my brother in cold blood, and robbed his dying
body of the gold for which he had been toiling for
years, to send it home to make more happy the old age
of our parents." Such things as these compelled a
One of these three disabilities still lies very much at
the root of the whole question—viz., the inability to
speak and read the English language. Its natural
effect has been to drive the Chinese into closer compact
amongst themselves, to strengthen the clannish feelings
o o o
which would urge each aggrieved person to seek aid
against his enemy from those who could hear his complaints, and to make him more thoroughly an alien -by
the feeling that he had been outraged without the hope
of redress. This ignorance was insurmountable in the
great portion of the immigrants, for they were too poor
to spend their time in learning our language properly,
and were too old to talk it intelligibly.
One result, too, was to throw great responsibility on
the Six Companies, through whom the immigrants tried
and did generally find counsel and aid. These companies have been the objects of more unjust charges, vituperation, and unfounded suspicion than any one can
imagine who has not read what has been alleged
against them. Yet I do not see how we' could have
got on, as the case has been, without them. What could
have been done, otherwise, with thousands of active,
young, and well-disposed men landing at San Fran- Chinese Immigration. 35
cisco, not one of whom could read a word of English,
and few of them talk it, yet each man eager to work
as soon as he knew where ? If the municipality of that
city, seeing the facts of the case, had encouraged a few
Americans to study the written language, and talk the
Cantonese dialect, and had employed them as official
interpreters and translators, to inform the immigrants
of their duties, privileges, taxes, and other important
points, the latter would have been ushered into their
new condition with some idea of its requirements.
Such a thing seems never to have been thought of as
o o
a practical end, and the Chinese were left to be looked
after by the Six Companies alone. Whatever the
managers of those companies might say respecting
their organization, rules, and actual operations toward
their countrymen, it seems as if it all went for nothing
in the eyes of their detractors. The Address just referred to says, speaking of I our ignorance of the Chinese language," that i the great mass of the Chinese
o       o o
residents of California are not amenable to our laws ;
but are governed by secret tribunals, unrecognized by
law, formed by the several Chinese companies, which
are recognized as legitimate authorities by the Chinese
population. They levy taxes, command masses of
men, intimidate interpreters and witnesses, enforce
perjury, regulate trade, punish the refractory, remove
witnesses beyond the reach of our courts, control liberty of action, and prevent the return of the Chinese to
China without their consent. In short, they exercise a
despotic sway over one-seventh of the population of
If these allegations are true,"it is no credit to a State
to allow such things to go on, and plead 1 our ignorance
of the Chinese language I as a reason for not breaking
00 o
up companies who did them.    The writers speak as if
m 36
Chinese Immigration.
the Legislature, which they represented by their committee, had no voice or responsibility in the matter.
When, therefore, the companies deny the charges, and
assure us that they never had organized or secret tribunals to administer justice in this country, and that
many misunderstandings and difficulties they have settled among themselves, in the way of arbitration, we
are disposed to believe them. The Rev. Dr. Speer's
account of their design, given in Chap. XIX. of his
valuable work, called | China and the United States,'1
would have shown these writers how they grew out of
the necessities of the case and what has been their
practical operation during the past twenty-eight years.
He justly calls them 1 institutions which have no parallel for utility and philanthropy among the immigrants
from any other nation or people to our wide shores."
Since he wrote his work the wider dispersion of the
immigrants and-their greater knowledge of English has
limited the action of the companies as it has lessened
their need.
With all these sources of information open to him, it
is somewhat mortifying to read the answer of Mr. Blaine
to Senator Matthew's request for his proofs of the manner, degree, and extent to which the Chinese Government is responsible for the establishment of the Six
Companies for the purposes of immigration. Mr. Blaine
| That I do not know. The secrets of the Chinese
empire are past finding out. I do not know what sort
of agency they have from the government. They have
some, undoubtedly, and they retain it. They are, in a
certain sense, agents of the Chinese Government for
the importation of this coolie population."
Mr. Sargent was equally loose in his assertions, and, Chinese Immigration.
like his colleague from Maine, felt that the Treaty was
in the way of passing the bill before the Senate. He
said :
I The Burlingame Treaty ought to be cut up by the
roots, in fact, as all these treaties should be. There is
no reciprocity in them. We are allowed to enter but
five ports in China. An American traveling in the interior of China has to do it upon a passport, and that is
difficult to obtain. The Chinese come here by the
hundred thousands, travel over this country, and do as
they please. By the Chinese census only five hundred
and forty-one Americans are in all China. Our citizens
can only go in at certain ports and are impeded in their
passage through the country."
A reply to one count in this singular charge, and this
statesmanlike reason for cutting up a treaty by the
roots, could have been found if he had read the Reed
Treaty, where seven open ports are enumerated, and
since it was signed in i858 eleven more have been
opened. The passport system was pressed upon the
Chinese plenipotentiaries by foreign envoys, as the best
means of protecting the natives against reckless foreigners, and the passports are all issued by their own ministers and consuls. I have myself issued many to
Americans citizens, and they can go everywhere they
please, though in many districts a lawless population
makes travel sometimes dangerous to persons not knowing the language ; not nearly so dangerous, however,
as it used to be for Chinese traveling in California.
Once more, the Chinese have never taken a census of
foreigners, and why the fact (if it be one) that only five
hundred and forty-one Americans are in all China is an
argument for abrogating the Treaty needs some clearer
Honorable Senators who make such random state- 38
Chinese Immigration.
ments do more than merely weaken the arguments deduced from them in support of their cause ; and if they
had inquired at the Chinese Legation in Washington
they could have learned the truth. It may seem to
many to be a trifling matter anyway ; but the reputation
of this Republic for honorable dealing is not a trifling
matter to those who now hear me, and this aspersion
of the Chinese Government recoils on ourselves if the
charges cannot be sustained.
President Woolsey says, in section 18 of his | International Law: I
I The honor or reputation of a State is equally its
right; and the injury done by violations of this right
will seem very great when we consider the multitudes
who suffer in their feelings from a national insult, and
the influence of the loss of a good name upon intercourse
with other states, as well as upon that self-respect which
is an important element in national character."
The real reason why so much has been said about this
Treaty, it seems to me, is because the opponents of the
Chinese were unwilling to squarely propose a law contrary to all the declarations of the American people as
to the asylum they offer to the people of other lands.
But the Treaty really has had no perceptible effect on
their coming. It merely quotes the inherent right of
man to change his home and allegiance—as if it was
properly higher than a Treaty stipulation—not so much
to qualify it, as a reason for taking measures to prevent
its notorious abuses in the coolie trade. The Emperor
of China is as helpless to prevent his subjects leaving
their native land as Congress and President Hayes together are to keep Americans at home. President
Woolsey says : | The right of emigration is inalienable.
Only self-imposed or unfulfilled obligations can restrict
it."    He also shows that a government is no more jus- Chinese Immigration.
tified in prohibiting a subject from emigrating, than it
would be in prohibiting a foreign sojourner from doing
the same. It is an old right, too, for it was inserted in
Magna Charta, and claimed then not only for natives,
but foreign traders also; and if the Emperor of China is
respectable enough among the potentates of the earth
for this Government to make a treaty with, why should
we hesitate to grant him the rights and courtesies involved in it ?
It is plain that the struggle over the Chinese question
on the Pacific Coast is only another form of the labor question; and that question is not to be adjusted by the
puerile policy of limiting the number of immigrants in
one ship from China to i5, while i,5oo may come from
Japan, Siam, or any other country. The main features
of this question were illustrated by an incident which
was reported when I was in San Francisco. A patriotic American employed an Irishman to saw a load of
wood for a dollar, and he was soon after seen quietly
smoking, as he watched a Chinaman doing the job for
twenty-five cents. In this epitome of labor and capital
who would blame either of the three parties; or who
could restrain them with any justice; or how long
would it be before the intermediary smoker became a
laborer or a capitalist?
The adoption of the new constitution of California
has placed this great issue between capital and labor on
a new ground, by making State laws against express
treaty stipulations. Politics have also been mixed up
with it, for the Chinese in that State are of no value in
politics; but the Irish are worth much to those who
please them. It is a very high compliment to the former
that they have stood such tests during the past years.
What other class can show so small a proportion of inmates of the prisons, alms-houses, and other reformatory 4o
Chinese Immigration.,
places ?    What other class would have submitted to
such taxation ?    The miner's tax, the laundry tax, the
fishing tax, the school tax, the immigrant's poll tax, the
500-cubic-feet-of-air-law, the queue ordinance, and that
regulating the removal of coffins, are the names of vari-
00 ?
ous discriminating State or local acts (probably most of
them now repealed), by which the Chinese have been
fleeced. It was once even proposed to vaccinate every
immigrant, at a charge of $30, in order to protect the
State against small-pox! Mr. Bee shows that before the
miner's tax was repealed in 1862, it was estimated that
it had taken over $31,000,000 out of the earnings of
Chinese miners, from whom it had been mostly levied. A
recent decision of the United States Supreme Court has
awarded $10,000 damages for cutting off the queue of a
Chinese by the sheriff, in accordance with the city ordinance. In delivering his opinion in the case, Mr. Justice
Field characterizes it as special legislation against a
class of persons, being intended only for the Chinese
in San Francisco, and avowed to be so by the supervisors there, who urged its adoption and continuance as a
means of inducing a Chinaman to pay his fine. He
properly adds : "It is not creditable to the humanity
and civilization of our people, much less to their Christianity, that an ordinance of this character was possible;'
and says further : | It is legislation unworthy of a brave
and manly people."
The conduct of these immigrants is, of course, to be
judged by their early education and moral training in a
heathen land; not absolutely, but in connection with
their standards of morals and usages of society. I do
not need to describe their personal habits, nor would I
extenuate their moral character; their proneness to lying and gambling, or their destructive habit of opium
smoking.    No doubt hundreds of needy sharpers have Chinese Immigration.
landed with the intention of preying upon their thrifty
countrymen and living by their wits; but, on the other
hand, I can refer to the students now in New England
to prove that some can appreciate our civilization and
assimilate to our teachings. The reports of various reformatory and penal institutions in California furnish
some data for a judgment. Out of 95,000 Chinese in
California, 198 were in State-prison in 1877, while 347
whites were there. In twelve years 711 natives of Ireland were committed, and 75° natives of China; but
the adult Irish population was only 35,000, or about
one-third of the other. In the Industrial School were
four Chinese, among 225 others in the year 1875. In
the alms-house, out of 498 inmates that year, not one
Chinese, but 197 Irish ; while in 1878 one Chinese was
admitted, and 175 Irish. In the hospital report for 1875,
out of 3,918 inmates, only 11 were Chinese and 1,308
Irish; in 1878, out of 3,007 admissions, 948 were Irish and
6 were Chinese. In the pest-house there were 22, none
of them Chinese. The arrests for drunkenness in San
Francisco alone for the year ending June 30th, 1878,
were 6,127, not one of whom was a Chinese. Out of
4,977 deaths in the same place and time, 496 Chinese
and 693 Irish are enumerated.
Yet, in face of these figures and facts, which are
drawn from public documents, the following conclusions
respecting the immigrants are put forth in the Address :
I The evidence demonstrates beyond cavil that nearly
the entire immigration consists of the lowest orders of
the Chinese people, and mainly of those having no
homes or occupations on the land, but living in boats
on the rivers, especially those in the vicinity of Canton.
It would seem to be a necessary consequence flowing
from this class of immigration that a large proportion
of criminals should be found among it; and this deduc-
w 42
Chinese Immigration.
tion is abundantly sustained by the facts before us, for
of 545 foreign criminals in our State-prison 198 are
Chinese, while the jails and reformatories swarm with
the lower grade of malefactors."
The singular assertion here made as to the origin of the
o o
-that most of them have no homes or occupations on land, but live in boats near Canton, accounting for their criminality by their locality—is an
entire mistake. The fact and the inference are equally
out of the way. It would, however, be useless to indicate all such misstatements.
The conduct and condition of these people would, I
am sure, have been far worse than these figures indicate, if it had not been for the untiring efforts of Christian men and women around them. These efforts have
been going on for nearly thirty years, and o'nly those
who have lived in California can appreciate the perseverance, the patience, the care, and the faithfulness
shown by many unpaid teachers in Sabbath and evening schools, as well as others belonging to and conduct-'
o 7 00
ing more regular mission work. Statistics do not convey
a just idea of the results of this benevolent work, which
has largely been of that preventive and reformatory
nature that helps men to be better, and keeps them out
of jails and saloons, to the great advantage of society.
Coming directly from their native hamlets in Kwangtung
across the ocean, into a city where they were the objects
of insults and obloquy; unable to talk an intelligible
sentence of English, even if they could read their own
tongue ; not a law of the land translated into it to guide
them, they naturally huddled together in their own
quarter for safety and society. As they left San Francisco to seek work in the country, these kind friends of
whom I speak found them out, and began to teach them
English, by telling them the old, old story, which never Chinese Immigration.
wears out. They thus became acquainted with the
highest truths and the best rules for conduct, while fitting themselves for such work as they could find, by
learning" to talk and read English.    Their teachers felt
o o
that God in his providence had brought them to our
shores for some other, higher end than merely to be
our Gibeonites, and well have they performed their
work. While the legislators of California seem to have
exhausted their wisdom in divising, from time to time,
all the contrivances to tax and fine these people which
could be brought to bear on them, their real friends
were opening schools and meetings, and showing them
wherein the true glory of this land consisted.
Every person who learned even a little of the truths
of our holy faith from these benevolent efforts would
be all the more likely to prove a good member of society.
If that excellent man, Gov. Seymour, had seen these
efforts to teach the Chinese, and their results of a preventive and elevating nature, he would not, I am sure,
declare that there has been no assimilation, that the
race is alien to our institutions, and that their presence
here in small numbers is dangerous. He would have
borne in mind that everything had been done to hinder
their assimilation, preventing them by law from becoming citizens, and then making them ineligible to enter the
O ' o o
schools which would fit them to be citizens, even though
they paid taxes for those schools.
The record of these efforts is contained in many reports ; but the best digest I have seen of their results
is in Rev. Otis Gibson's recent publication issued in
Cincinnati, called 1 Chinese in America," which I can
recommend to all who are desirous to learn the truth
on this subject. From this book and later sources the
following figures have been gathered : 44 Chinese Immigration.
Total average attendance at evening schools for Chinese  825
Total roll-call  2.750
In Sunday-schools, average  1,100
Roll-call of Sunday-schools  3,300
Chinese baptized in United States  400
Native churches in Presbyterian Mission  2
Chinese pastors, teachers, and helpers  15
A Chinese Young; Men's Christian Association exists
in San Francisco, with members and branches over the
country. The number which has openly ceased from
idolatry is not known ; but must be over 5,000. The
contributions from members for maintaining these efforts
are daily increasing. It is perhaps not irrelevant to the
general question to add that $12,000 were sent last
year by the Chinese on that coast to relieve the sufferers
from yellow-fever in the Southern States.
Into the difficult subject of wages I will not enter.
So far as I can learn, the unskilled Chinese laborer gets
as much on the Pacific coast as his compeer gets on
this side for the same work, and the prices of food and
clothing there are less. In their cry against Chinese
labor the workingmen in California unconsciously put
themselves below their competitors in the race of endurance, skill, and value in the battle of progress; while
all the advantages of position, power, language, machinery, and priority are on their side. Charges are made
that this influx brings with it a flood of vice; but where
can we find the laboring community in all that region
which has been heathenized by their contact with the
Chinese ? Have the Mormons or the Irish been made
any worse or different from the presence of these
Even the recent Congressional Committee, under
Mr. Wright's chairmanship, in its visit to California,
where it spent four days, found that the labor question Chinese Immigration.
was the prominent one connected with this subject.
Farmers, tradesmen, mechanics, peddlers, miners, and
workmen, all agreed that they could not hold their own
against the Chinaman; and, without intending anything
of the sort, they bore the strongest testimony in favor
of the skill, business capacity, industry, patience, endurance, and frugality of the Chinese.
In fact, it is with their good qualities that most fault
seems to be found. Whether these good qualities are
so undesirable that immigrants possessing them ought
to be excluded from the country is a question not for
Congress and the Government alone, which so recently
brought us to the doing of a national wrong, but for
the common-sense and equity of the people at large.
These qualities, therefore, should have their due prominence in our estimate of the bearings of the immigration.
If they find no demand for their labor, no remunera-
for their outlay, they will not come. They are not held
at home as serfs by feudal barons or great landholders ;
they are not oppressed there, nor compelled to work in
mines, factories, or penitentiaries ; they are in no particular danger of starving, from which and other evils
they hope to escape by running away to America.
China suffers much from the evils of ignorance, poverty,
idolatry, licentiousness, cruelty, and unjust administration of laws, and I would not keep back any of their
vices. Those now here have, on the whole, I believe,
found no reason to regret their venture. In the ease
with which they go and come lies one of the benefits
they are to derive from mingling with us; and also one
of the strong reasons for believing* that the immigration
o o o
will never become an invasion.
I prefer to see the hand of God in the way in which
the millions of China and Japan are being gradually
brought out of their long seclusion and ignorance into
o o o
m 46
Chinese Immigration.
a knowledge of and participation of the benejf ts existing in Christian lands. Those two kingdoms and our
own land cannot keep apart, and our intercourse will
prove mutually beneficial, if we only treat their people
in the same manner as we ask them to treat us. Mutual wants will beget the desires and means of growing
exchanges, and, as we stand now in good relations, we
have it in our power to do them lasting benefits.
The laws of California declare that the Chinese are
Indians and aliens, and her legislators have treated
them as if they had no rights which we were bound to
respect. As I believe that the most complete way to
settle our chronic difficulties with the Indians is no long-
er to regard them as aliens and treat them as wards
or children, but in every legitimate way to induce and
help them to become fit for citizens, so I would set
this goal before the Chinese. As soon as they have
an adequate knowledge of English and a certain
amount of property, give them citizenship, if they desire it. An alien race is properly declared to be dangerous to the State, and the only way to remove or
neutralize the danger, therefore, is by making such residents eligible for citizenship. The right to become
citizens will stimulate great numbers of the Chinese to
fit themselves for it, and there are now about 2,000 of
them born in this land who ought not and cannot justly
be debarred.
I close this paper by a quotation abridged from Senator Morton's views, written after he had returned from
California. It expresses the deliberate opinion of a
competent observer on this point:
" The limitation of the right to become naturalized
to white persons was placed in the law when slavery
was a controlling influence in our Government, was
maintained by the power of that institution, and is now Chinese Immigration.
retained by the lingering prejudices growing out of it.
After having abolished slavery and established equal
political rights, without regard to race or color, it would
be inconsistent and unsound policy to renew and reassert the prejudices against race by excluding the people of Asia from our shores. It would be to establish
a new governmental policy upon the basis of color and
a different form of civilization. In California the antipathy to the Mongolian race, though differing in its
reasons and circumstances of its exhibition, belongs
still to the class of antipathies springing from race and
religion. As Americans, standing upon the great doctrines of our polity, and seeking to educate the masses
into their belief, and extending equal rights and protection to all races and conditions, we cannot now safely
take a new departure, which in another form shall resurrect the odious-distinctions which brought upon us
a civil war. If the Chinese were white people, though
in all other respects what they are, I do not believe
that the complaints and warfare made against them
would have existed to any great extent. As the law
stands, they cannot be naturalized, and I do not know
that any proposition has been made to change it. The
question is whether they shall be permitted to come
here to work or trade, to acquire property or to follow
any pursuit. I think they cannot be protected in the
Pacific States while remaining in their alien condition.
Without representation in the legislature or Congress,
without a voice in the selection of officers, surrounded
by fierce and in many respects unscrupulous enemies,
the law will be found insufficient to screen them from
persecution. Complete protection can be given them
only by allowing them to become citizens and acquire
the right of suffrage. Then their votes would become
important and their persecutors in great part converted
into kindly solicitors. In considering any proposition
to prohibit Chinese immigration, we have to remember
that they come entirely from the British port of Hongkong. Our refusal to permit a Chinaman to land, who
had embarked at a British port upon a British vessel,
would be a question with the British Government, and t
Chinese Immigration.
not the Chinese. The fact that he was a Chinaman,
who had never sworn allegiance to that Government,
would not change the question."
His short sojourn in California did not afford Senator Morton opportunity to study all the points in the
Chinese question, and the underlying one of difference
of language is quite left out in this view. Time alone
can remove much of the trouble by raising up Chinese
who can easily teach their countrymen English enough
to get along, as they teach them other things. The
question which asks for solution now is : How can we
remove the present irritation ? Considering how the
Chinese have been treated, it is creditable to them that
they have given so little provocation or resistance to
law. The facts prove that they have been a benefit to
the Pacific States, with all the drawbacks alleged
against their presence. I can see no more effectual
way to remove strife than to remove legal disabilities,
treat them as we do other immigrants, and defend them,
if need be, in the possession of rights guaranteed them
by treaty.
/     ■i'-        aastiia


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