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Asiatic coolie trade. Message from the President of the United States, in answer to a resolution of the… United States. Department of State; United States. Congress. House 1861

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Array S?AA\*.f 6"?*-r
:ess, )       HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.       ( Ex. Doc.
n.      § \   No. 16.
A resolution of the House of IZtJpJuly last, in relation to the " Asiatic Coolie
/ Trade."
December 23, 1861.—Referred to the Committee on Commerce, and ordered to be printed.
To the House of Representatives:
In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 13th
July last, requesting information respecting the Asiatic coolie trade, I transmit a
report from the Secretary of State, with the documents which accompanied it.
Washington, December 23, 1861. V^	
Department of State,
Washington, December 23, 1861.
The Secretary of State, to whom was referred the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 13th July last, requesting the President of the United
States " to communicate to the House of Representatives, at the commencement
of the regular session of Congress in December next, any information then in
possession of the government, and not theretofore communicated, respecting the
Asiatic coolie trade, so called," has the honor to lay before the President the
accompanying copy of documents mentioned in the subjoined list.
Respectfully submitted.
To the President. ASIATIC  COOLIE  TEADE.
List of accompanying papers.
Mr. Savage to Mr. Cass, (extracts with accompaniments,) February 14, 1860.
Mr. Anthon, jr. to Mr. Cass, (with accompaniments,) May 1, 1860.
Same to same, (with an accompaniment,) May 8, 1860.
Mr. Cass to Mr. Dallas, June 20, 1860.
Lord John Russell to Lord Lyons, (extracts,) July 11, 1860.
Mr. Dallas to Mr. Cass, (with accompaniments,) July 27, 1860.
Mr. Savage to Mr. Cass, August 14, 1860.
Same to same, September 6, 1860.
i Lord John Russell to Lord Lyons, (extract,) September 10, 1861.
Mr. Savage to Mr. Cass, (extract,) September 27, 1860.
Mr. Breck to Mr. Seward, (extract,) March 6, 1861.
Same to same, (extract,) March 6, 1861.
Same to same, (extract,) March 16, 1861.
Mr. Stribling to Mr. Black, (with accompaniments,) March 26, 1861.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams, June 10, 1861.
Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward, (extract, with accompaniments,) June 28, 1861.
Mr. Trevitt to Mr. Seward, (extract,) October 1, 1861.
Note.—For other documents relating to the coolie trade see Executive Document No. 105, House of Representatives, 34th Congress, first session; and
Executive Document No. 109, Senate, 34th Congress, first session; and Executive
Document No. 88, House of Representatives, 36th Congress, first session.
Mr. Savage to Mr. Cass.
Despatch No. 4.]
Consulate Gen'l of the United States of America at Havana,
February 14, 1860.
Sir : I have the honor to accompany herewith copies (with translations into
our language) of decrees that have been recently published in the official gazette
of Havana by order of the governor general.
* * * * # *
No. 4.—A decree of the governor general of this island, based upon several
royal orders, by which the importation of Chinese coolies will he tolerated from
date (10th February) to 31st December, 1860, and strictly forbidden, under all
and every circumstance, from the 1st of January, 1861. This question has
been for a long time pending before the supreme government of Spain.
With great respect, I am, sir, your most obedient servant,
Vice-Consul General.
Hon. Lewis Cass,
Secretary of State of the United States, Washington. ASIATIC   COOLIE  TRADE
Grovernment, captain generalcy, and superintendency general, by delegation of
the exchequer of the ever faithful Island of Cuba.
No. 4.] Office of the Government Secretarv,
Havana, February 10, 1860.
By different royal orders the supreme government has recommended to that of
this island that, after the permissions for the introduction into the same, as an
experiment, of Asiatic colonists (Chinese coolies) have expired, an end be put
to that importation, whilst the council of state has not presented the report
which, upon this important question, has been asked of it, and her Majesty
definitely resolved what may be expedient thereupon. %
Notwithstanding the explicitness of such recommendation, considerations of
humanity to the colonists that came from so remote climes after their painful
voyage, and of equity to those that had them contracted, and had ventured considerable capital in that speculation, prevented, hitherto, the immediate and
punctual fulfilment of the royal orders alluded to. The discontinuance of this
emigration being again recommended by another recent sovereign disposition,
dated 28th of December last, until experience shall show the advantages or
inconvenience thereof, being prompted by grave considerations of humanity
much superior to those previously indicated, and desirous to reconcile the duties
imposed upon me by the office I hold with the interests of those who, under the
shade of the tolerance hitherto exercised, may have fortunes compromised in that
adventurous speculation, I have decreed the following:
1. In accordance with what is disposed in various royal orders, and specially
in that of 28th of December last, the introduction of Asiatic colonists into this
island is hereby suspended.
2. In order that the interests of those who have sent on orders and have made
contracts for coolies may not be injured, such expeditions of them as may arrive
from the date of this decree until the 31st of December next will be admitted
in the way of tolerance, unless there should be extraordinary circumstances or
reasons of public health to prevent the same.
3. The extension of the term which is fixed to tolerate the introduction of
Asiatic colonists being considered, and being more than sufficient for the arrival
out of all orders that have been forwarded, and for the carrying out of contracts
that may have already been entered into, from and after the 1st day of January, 1.861, the entry of new expeditions of coolies will not he at all permitted,
whatsoever may be the reasons and causes that may be alleged for soliciting the
4. The governors and lieutenant governors will give to this decree the utmost
publicity in their respective districts; and that it may become known to all, and
no one may allege ignorance, it will be also inserted three days consecutively in
the gazette of the government.
The governor captain general.
Mr. Anthon, jr., to Mr. Cats.
j$0 6i United States Consulate,
Batavia, Java, May 1, 1860.
Sir : I beg to wait upon you with the following enclosures :
No. 1. Remarks upon the " cargo" of the American ship " Staghound."
No. 2. Report upon the mutiny that has taken place on board of said ship. 4 ASIATIC  COOLIE  TRADE.
I would earnestly call your attention to the latter, and, in connexion with the
same, beg to state to you that the mutinous portion of the crew, twenty-four in
number, are now detained here in the prison on shore. They will he forwarded
on to the United States for trial so soon as opportunities present.
It is necessary for me to state to you that I do not consider that this is a
climate in which European or American seamen should be long incarcerated;
also, that the opportunities for sending men, and especially prisoners, to the
United States from this direct, either in American or foreign vessels, are very
I have tried to send some of these men to the port of Boston in the Hamburg
ship " TeUas," but have been unable to do so, owing to the underwriters here
hiring intimated that they should decline to note a risk upon her cargo if the
vessel took them.
Even had I been successful in this instance, I should have had to pay for
seven of the men the exorbitant sum of $2,000. I have also tried to send some
of them via Holland, by a Dutch vessel to sail shortly. The agents, however,
declined taking them, owing to positive instructions on this head from the
owners; and I fear that the decision of the underwriters will effectually prevent
any indirect opportunities via the Netherlands.
I state these circumstances in order that you may see the difficulties with
which I have to contend. The " Staghound" may possibly take some, although
I am not yet resolved to send any by her, as I fear it would be the height of
imprudence to do so. I should be pleased, therefore, to have your instructions
in regard to these men by return mail; they will thus reach me four and a half
to five months from this date.
I should wish to know what disposition you wish made with these men, should
they still be here upon the receipt of your instructions, all or any portion of
them; and if, in case of necessity, I can pay their passage in advance. Also,
if it is your intention to direct a vessel-of-war from China to this to take what
men may be remaining.
You will notice that the mutinous acts committed by these men require severe
punishment to prevent their repetition, and to prove that, although committed
at such a distance from the United States, such distance cannot shield them from
being made an example of.
So long as this coolie trade is allowed to go on as at present, there will be
continual risk of grave disorders onboard; and it must be apparent to you, sir,
that from the continual complaints of tyranny and brutality on the one side, and
of insubordination on the other, (the former so frequent near at home as to draw
upon it the attention of a foreign legislative body,) that the United States will
soon have to make further enactments for the protection of the officers and crews of
its merchant vessels. I have shown that there was no just cause for this mutiny;
but with the material of which our crews are now made up, and with their mixed
nationality, the case of the " Staghound" is likely to occur at any moment. And
until some other steps are taken to prevent the repetition of such flagrant occurrences and the risks of coolie outbreaks, I would respectfully suggest whether
it would not be expedient for a steam war-vessel of the United States to be kept
cruising near the Straits of Sunda, as through these straits, at certain seasons,
pass all the American vessels bound to and from China and the Indian archipelago ; especially now, when you observe that such cases as that of the " Staghound" are not taken cognizance of by the Netherlands Indian government.
I shall, as I have said, do my best to forward these men with all despatch.
It is true that the number is large, and, at the same time, it is rather a delicate
matter to make such wholesale use of the prisons as this; still I dare not set a
single man free on this account. He would only find his way to China again,
and there probably form the germ of a like mischief. I am convinced, from what
one of the crew told me, that the men in confinement are under the impression ASIATIC   COOLIE   TRADE. 5
that their numbers would be too many for confinement on shore, and that, with
no means or opportunity of sending them forward, I should be obliged, after the
vessel's departure, to set them free.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
United States Consul.
Hon. Lewis Cass,
Secretary of State of the United States, Washington.
No. 1.
Remarks upon the " cargo" of the American ship " Staghound."
In the course of the examination on board of the " Staghound," upon being
told that the coolies had once or twice plotted to take the vessel, I made some
inquiry of the master in regard to the so-called " coolie trade," as it exists at
present; as, at the time that I was in China, (1855,) he had taken a cargo of
coolies in the " Westward Ho" to Callao, and I was desirous to know if there
were any features at present in the trade differing from those existing at the
time of the voyage of that vessel. He stated to me that there were, and I
would refer you for particulars to him. His residence is at Alexandria, Virginia.
For reasons which he will explain to you he did not wish me to make any note
of them here; nor did he wish me to report what he had told me had taken
place on board of the American ship " Norway," from Macao to Havana, with
coolies, as the same had been related to him in confidence, and he wished his
statement to me to be considered a privileged communication.
It is probable that what occurred on board of this vessel may have transpired
upon her return to America. Should it not, Captain Hussey has then no objection to acquainting you with the particulars of the tragedy.
Captain Hussey declared to me that the Chinamen on board of the " Staghound" understood perfectly what they signed for, and that there were present
at the time a mandarin, and the shroff of the Swatow vice-consulate, acting as
interpreter. Some 250 men were rejected by Captain Hussey and the mandarin,
owing to their declaring that they did not wish to go, and did not appear of
their own free will.
I requested to see one of the contracts under which the coolies on board are
held to labor. One was shown to me, and I enclose a copy of the copy that I
made of it.    I would ask your reference to its general tenor.
You will notice that the party of the first part is Mr. B. W. Tucker, agent for
Messrs. Fernandez, Schimper & Co., and although the words " Por los Sres.
Fernandez, Schimper & Co." are printed in large type at the foot of the contract,
the name of their agent, Mr. Tucker, is not affixed; nor does it appear anywhere
on the document as a signature. The name of the place where the contract is
made is left blank.
I pointed out to Captain Hussey the absence of the agent's name to the contract, and asked if this was an omission, or if there were any of the other contracts in the same state. He replied that he did not think there was a single one
of them signed by the agent, and that he had pointed out to Mr. Tucker that
this formality had not been observed. There were but some 19 of the contracts
accessible; these were those of some supplementary men taken at Amoy, and
these are witnessed by Mr. Hyatt, the United States consular interpreter. None
of these were signed, save by the Chinese. The remaining contracts were under
a sealed package, for which a bill of lading had been given.
From the heading of the contract I presume that the firm named therein are 6 ASIATIC  COOLIE  TRADE.
the administrators of a company of which the rather ambiguous wood cut is
possibly the device.
The contract does not bear the signature or vise, of any Spanish official in
In November, 1857, I addressed * * * * *, the then American minister to China, Mr. Reed, in regard to the case of a .coolie vessel, called the
"Kate Hooper," and requested instructions as to the aid that in my official capacity I was obliged to extend in such cases, seeing that the traffic had been
denounced by the Hon. Dr. Parker, when minister to China.
***** The following is an extract from the reply of the
Hon. Mr. Reed:
" The subject to which you refer is one of painful interest and some perplexity,
and I scarcely know what with precision to say about it. The written law does
hot seem to be against it, but the spirit of all law, which is meant to protect
humanity, is. The opinion of the government of the United States is against it,
and, if that be of any value, my own judgment and instincts condemn it. But
I can do little else than give expression to this opinion. I have but one copy of
Mr. Parker's proclamation, and cannot spare it, nor do I advise its resuscitation;
for, though entirely just in sentiment, I do not think proclaimed sentiments,
unenforced by practical penalties, do much good.
" I am trying to devise some mode by which I can stop at the clearing ports
this vile traffic, which is contrary to the laws of China. In order to do so I
shall need precise statements of facts, and if you can furnish me with one in
connexion with the ' Kate Hooper,' I shall be glad.
" The papers here make out the case worse than you do, bad as your report is."
" I do not think you would, as consul, be authorized to withhold assistance
from vessels in distress, trading as this was. Everything as to the flag and
papers was, I doubt not, regular. So soon as I get full information I shall write
to the government on the subject."
The above is from Mr. Reed's despatch, dated December 14, 1857.
The assistance that I am extending to this vessel is given wholly in my official
capacity, and as such, under the circumstances stated above, I shall look to our
government to protect me in the advances that I am forced to make in the event
of any occurrences that may render the usual precautions that I shall take insufficient to keep me from loss.
United States Consul.
No. 2.
Report of Henry Anthon,jr., United States consul at Batavia, Java, upon the
mutiny on board of the United States merchant ship "Staghound."
Batavia, April 30, 1860.
The United States merchant ship " Staghound," Samuel B. Hussey, master,
from the port of Swatow, China, and bound for the port of Havana, in Cuba,
reached Angier about the 30th of March, and anchored in the roads of that port.
The register of the vessel shows that she belongs to Boston, and is owned
solely by Isaac Taylor, of said city.
She was officered by her captain and three mates, and was manned by thirty-
two men before the mast, the carpenter, two ship's cooks, and the cabin steward.
She carried also six quartermasters, whose duty appeared to be a special one of
keeping guard over the cargo. ASIATIC  COOLIE  TRADE. 7
This last consisted of some four hundred Chinese, under contract to work for
eight years in Cuba, and I would ask your reference to my remarks in regard
to the same in enclosure No. 1, that accompanies the present.
You will receive herewith two documents, lettered A and B, containing copies
of correspondence, record of transactions, and the depositions taken in the case.
From these documents it will appear that at the time the vessel reached An-
gier the master and the third mate were upon the sick list, the former reduced
and enfeebled by dysentery, and the latter suffering with a fractured collar-bone,
an accident that had befallen him some three or four days prior to the vessel's
arrival in the straits.
The ship was therefore under the active charge of the first and second officers;
the latter, a youth of some nineteen years of age, was the only son of the master.
On the evening of the 31st of March the starboard watch were on duty, and
there appears to have been some noise calling for the interference of the watch
officer, the second mate, who ordered them upon the starboard bridge to await
the appearance of the other watch, preparatory to being relieved.
As the word "bridge" appears frequently in the record of the inquiry, it is perhaps proper to explain that the vessel has a full poop cabin, and has two houses
on deck, the one forward and the other near the cabin entrance. The bridges are
two long gangways reaching from the forward house aft to the break of the
poop. They have life-lines extending along them, and are intended for the
convenience of the crew in going forward and aft without interfering with the
Chinese, who are upon the spar deck below.
The second mate's watch was mustered, then, upon the starboard bridge, and
shortly after the other watch, under the charge of the first mate, came up and
mustered upon the other bridge.
It was then that some words passed between a man of the starboard watch
and his officer, Mr. Hussey. The first mate ordered the man to go forward,
which order was disobeyed, and the second mate turned upon him to enforce his
superior's order. The man, James Morris by name, states that the second mate
struck him with a bucket and knocked him down. The second mate stated to
me in his ante mortem declaration that the man was insolent, and he struck
him (Morris) on the face with his open hand.
This resulted in Morris stabbing the officer in the abdomen with his sheath-
knife, inflicting a wound from the effects of which the second mate died a few
days after in the military hospital at this place.
Upon receiving the wound this officer turned and left the bridge.
The chief officer, noticing that his order had been disregarded, and that his
subordinate had left his station, and not knowing that he was wounded, crossed
oyer to the starboard bridge, seized the man Morris, and was immediately
stabbed by him.
Fortunately the point of the knife glanced upon the breast-bone and slid
along the ribs, inflicting a severe though not fatal wound.
The mate, feeling that he was wounded, and being unarmed, jumped off the
bridge, went into the cabin and aroused the captain, told him that there was
trouble on deck, and requested a revolver, which was given to him. The captain got up and followed him as fast as his feeble state would permit.
The mate, upon gaining the poop deck, found the crew upon both bridges
coming aft, Morris at the head of those on the starboard bridge, supported by a
man named Lewis, who was armed with a handspike. The mate was imme-
dietely assailed with cries of "Come on!" and, as Morris attempted to come
aft, this officer discharged one chamber of his revolver at him. The ball missed
this man, but struck the cook, wounding him slightly. This functionary, it would
seem, had nothing to do with the other men, but was preparing to retire for the
By this time the captain had reached the deck. He had just passed by his
son in the cabin, learned that he was wounded, and thought him dying. He
called upon the men to go forward, but the order was then disregarded. He
then ordered Morris to go forward, stating that he would fire upon him if disobeyed. To this order Morris replied by telling the master to fire, at the same
time making use of a disgusting expression, and adding that it would be the last
thing the captain ever did.
Captain Hussey states that the reason he refrained from carrying his threat
into execution was the consciousness that his physical debility was so great, and
he was so prostrated by what he thought was the fate of his son, that the recoil
of his heavy holster pistol would have thrown him down.
He repeated his order to the men to go forward, which was obeyed this time,
- but in a mutinous and disorderly manner, one of the men crying out to the
others to take the ship. The crew then mustered by themselves on the forecastle and gave three cheers.
Her Britannic Majesty's steam frigate " Odin," commanded by the right honorable Lord John Hay, was then at anchor in the vicinity, and Captain Hussey ordered
a boat's crew to come aft and man a boat for the purpose of sending to the " Odin"
for medical assistance. This order was not obeyed, and no attention was paid
to a call for volunteers for the same purpose that was made when the order was
disregarded, although the special object for sending away the boat seems to
have been understood by the crew. A boat was then lowered and manned by
the quartermasters and carpenter, and sent to the frigate under the charge of the
disabled third mate.
The state of affairs on board of the " Staghound" having been made known to
Lord Hay, he immediately sent to her two surgeons, protected by two boats'
crews, armed, and under the charge of the first lieutenant of the frigate. This
officer, Lieutenant Brooks, was instructed not to interfere with force if it could
be prevented.
Lord Hay states that no resistance was attempted, the wounded were
attended to, and that some time after midnight the crew of the " Staghound" appeared quiet.
Lieutenant Brooks upon his return to the "Odin" reported, however, that the
mutineers "presented an aspect so lawless and threatening, and were so completely united and led by the man Morris, as to leave little hope of a successful
interference on the part of the British force without the shedding of much
Under these circumstances, early the next morning Lord Hay (see his report)
informed Captain Hussey that he required a written application from him stating
the nature of the assistance that he required from the "Odin." Captain Hussey
replied, requesting that the crew might be placed in confinement until he could
communicate with the consulate at this place.
Lord Hay then informed the harbor-master at Angier of the state of affairs on
board of the " Staghound," and of Captain Hussey's application for assistance.
The harbor-master replied that there were no Dutch men-of-war in the vicinity,
and that he would be obliged to Lord Hay if he would act in the manner that
he deemed most advisable.
Lieutenant Brooks in his report states that in the morning (April 1st) he
went again on board of the " Staghound" and requested to see the ship's company.
The crew were mustered, and he inquired into the causes of the revolt. The
men complained of short allowance of provisions, bad treatment, and abusive
language. Further, that the mates were in the habit of carrying arms and
of striking them (the crew) with slung shot and steel knuckles. Morris then
stated to him that he had stabbed the second mate, and that he was not sorry
for what he had done, and that he would do it again, at the same time using
abusive and threatening language to the captain and first and third* mates, who ASIATIC   COOLIE  TRADE. 9
were then on deck; and that upon his asking the crew if they would return to
their duty, they refused to do so without exception.
It should be borne in mind that the carpenter, the quartermasters, and the
steward, sided from the first with the ship's officers, and are not implicated in
the revolt.
Lord Hay then requested Captain Hussey's presence on board of the "Odin;"
also that of five or six of the men, who would represent the mutineers, in order
that he might be able to form some idea of the crew, and of the causes that had
led to " such fearful acts of desperation." Six of the men, including Morris,
came on board of the frigate with Captain Hussey.
The men complained to Captain Hay that the ration was short, and accused
the officers of the " Staghound" of "overworking them; of unlawful violence and
tyranny of the worst description; of the use of loathsome and abusive language
on all occasions. They accused the first and second mates of threatening to
cut them down with cutlasses; of threatening to shoot them with revolvers,
which the mates were said to carry about with them; of throwing buckets and
slung shot at their heads; of striking them with handspikes and iron-knuckled
gloves; and all this without provocation."
Lord Hay goes on to state that some weight might have been attached to
these statements had it not appeared from the admissions of the men that some
of the cases cited had already been disposed of by the United States consular
officers at Swatow and Hong Kong, who in their decisions had stated to the
plaintiffs that the punishment received "had served them right." The man
Carr stated to his lordship that Morris was the man who stabbed the second
Lord Hay then, desirous to avoid the scandal of an armed interference on
board of a vessel under a foreign flag, and wishing to have some American element in the force to be employed to render the " Staghound's" crew impotent
for further mischief, applied to the master of the American ship " Continent," of
New Bedford, then in the straits, to know if he would assist with his officers
and crew. This Captain Gibbs, of that ship, agreed to do, provided the men of
the "Odin" would take possession of the upper deck of the "Staghound," and
occupy it.
At 1 p. m. then, of the 1st April, everything being in readiness, the "Odin"
steamed alongside of the "Staghound," and took possession of the upper deck;
and the mutineers, under such a display of force, offering no resistance, were put
in confinement.
Captain Hay, however, exacted from Captain Hussey, as the sole condition of
his assistance, that the " Staghound" should receive on board an officer of the
" Odin," or allow him to visit her as often as he pleased until the arrival of the
United States consul, or of some other authority.
This concession was exacted by his lordship in order that he might have some
guarantee that the men being placed in confinement, and thus put into the power
of their officers, whom they had charged with tyranny, should not suffer from
an abuse of that power.
The "Odin" then left for Batavia, and as the facilities for medical care were
not very great at Angier, Captain Hay brought the wounded second mate
around to this, for the purpose of having him placed in the hospital.
This unfortunate young man spoke in the most feeling manner of the kindness
and care that he had received on board at the hands of the officers, especially
those belonging to the medical profession.
Upon his arrival here, Lord Hay communicated verbally to me what had
taken place, and the next day furnished me with a written report, from which
the greater part of the foregoing is drawn, such portions of the depositions being
emboded to make a connected report of what transpired on board. 10 ASIATIC   COOLIE  TRADE
I beg to call your attention to the report of Lord Hay, and the delicate manner in which his assistance has been rendered in this unhappy affair.
The first information that I had of the trouble on board was contained in a
telegram from the harbor-master at Angier. This reached me on Sunday, the
1st April, and early the next morning this government, also apprised of the
state of affairs, despatched the war steamer "Merapi" to Angier, with instsuc-
tions to the commander to tow the "Staghound" to this, and to anchor her near
the guard ship, provided Captain Hussey should make a request to this effect.
Upon the arrival of the "Merapi" at Angier the crew were again asked to
return to their duty. This request was made in the presence of an officer of
the "Merapi" and the British officer left at Angier by Lord Hay. This they
refused to do; and also refused to weigh the anchor when told that it was for the
purpose of proceeding to Batavia, where the vessel was to be placed within
* consular jurisdiction.
Nothing now remained but to have the vessel towed to this. The anchor was
weighed with the assistance of the Chinese coolies, and the vessel was towed
to this by the "Merapi," and anchored near the guard ship.
As the foregoing had taken place when the ship was at anchor in Angier
Roads, I addressed the resident at this, waiting upon him with copies of all the
documents in my possession, and stated that I could not take any active steps
in the premises until I was informed of the intention of the Dutch East Indian
government, within whose jurisdiction the offences had been committed.
You will observe from his reply that the laws both of Holland and Netherlands India do not take cognizance of crimes or misdemeanors committed by
foreigners against foreigners on board of foreign vessels, unless the same are of
such a nature as to endanger the peace or security of the port. The resident,
however, requested the commander of the guard ship to place on board of the
" Staghound" a sufficient guard to maintain order among the crew and coolies;
and further informed me that in the event of my finding it necessary to send
any of the crew to the United States for trial, he would readily oblige me by
keeping the men in custody here until opportunities for my so doing offered.
On the 11th of this month I proceeded on board the "Staghound" for the
purpose of conducting the inquiry, and there being no other residents at this,
citizens of the United States, and the "Staghound" being the only American
vessel in port, I was obliged to do so without assistance.
After a patient inquiry that lasted two days, during which the officers and
crew were all examined, I find that there has been no just cause for the conduct
of the crew.
The men had been in irons since the first of the month. They exhibited no
signs of short allowance; nor was there any visible evidence of harsh treatment.
The officers state that the general conduct of the crew had been fair from the
departure from Swatow up to the date of the trouble at Angier.
The crew list shows the nationality of the men to have been as follows : 23
Americans, 10 Frenchmen, 7 Englishmen, and 2 Norwegians.
Upon their examination the men gave their nationality as follows : 19 Englishmen, 8 Americans, 6 Frenchmen, 2 Germans, 2 Hanoverians, 2 Norwegians,
1 Dane, 1 Belgian, 1 Dutchman.
One man was so deaf as to be hardly able to hear what was said to him in an
ordinary tone across the table; and the knowledge of the English language
possessed by some of the French and north countrymen was very imperfect—
sufficient, however, according to their own statements, to enable them to comprehend the orders for manoeuvring a vessel.
Referring you to the grievances of the crew as stated to Lord Hay, (see page
8,) I will now report upon them in the order in which they stand.
The first was "short rations." ASIATIC  COOLIE  TRADE.
Lord Hay, in his report, states that the deputation from the mutineers was
divided in opinion upon this subject, some of the men stating that the provisions were abundant and good, others that the quantity was insufficient and the
quality bad; and you will notice that this nobleman considered the charge unfounded By reference to the statements of the men when examined, you will
find the same diversity of opinion; and, by comparing the return of expenditure
of stores for the crew and quartermasters, 40 men in all, (the steward and carpenter messing in the cabin,) with the United States navy ration, established
by act of Congress August 29, 1842, I find from the date of leaving Swatow,
March 9, to the 31st of same month, inclusive, that while the expenditure shows
a deficiency, as compared with said ration, of 52 lbs. flour, 14 lbs. rice, 6^ lbs.
pickles, 32 oz. bread, 14 oz. tea, 960 oz. butter and cheese, (an unusual ration
in American merchant vessels,) and 72 pints of peas, there has been served out
to the men, in excess of said navy ration, some 542 lbs. of salt provisions, 4£
lbs. of dried fruit, 416 oz. of sugar, 4 pints of molasses, and 1,466 lbs. of sweet
potatoes. The valuation of the deficit, according to the taxation of the weekly
quantity is, if I am not in error, some $20 08, while, by the same estimate, the
value of the suplus stated is $35 50 ; to which must be added the value ot 11
peculs or 1,466 lbs. of sweet potatoes, an article not named in the list.
The charge of short allowance I therefore consider as not proved.
The next charge is that of overwork. __M£/tift
It must be borne in mind that the vessel had just come down the China sea.
Any officer of our navy, who has been on this station, can certify to you its
exceedingly dangerous navigation, requiring the greatest vigilance on the part ot
both officers and crew, and I am willing to admit that in this instance the services
of the crew may have been taxed to the utmost, although I cannot find that sucn
has been the case. The danger was, however, over at the time of the mutiny;
the vessel was at anchor; and in one or two days more she would have been
upon the Indian ocean, where it might have proved difficult for the officers to
have found sufficient work with which to occupy the crew, in order to guard
against the results of idleness among them, removed as many must ot necessity
be from under the eye of the officer, owing to the lumbered state of the decks.
And the supposition cannot be entertained that the officers overworked the crew
from sheer wantonness. It was upon the muscle and proper physical state ot
the latter that the safety of all depended. The frequent tragedies that have
been enacted on board of coolie ships were known to all, and to none better
than the officers, and they might as well be charged with weakening the locks
of the weapons upon which their lives depended, by uselessly snapping them.
This charge can therefore be placed aside. t
Before going any further, it is necessary to estimate the veracity ot the complainants at its proper value, as in the next charge much depends upon the same,
the assertions of the men being denied by the officers; and as the men have had
abundant time and opportunity to concoct their plan, without the above it is
difficult to arrive at a just conclusion.
It is seen that some of them have given up a false nationality, either here or
at Hong Kong; and that the first and second charges, just disposed of, have been
found to be groundless. The next charge consists of three distinct counts-
abusive language, threats of bodily harm, and actual violence. I shall show
that the third count is false in the spirit of the charge; that ^, where violence
has existed it has been on rare occasions, and in the admmistration of the pohoe
of the ship; and, as such, I believe that it is intended there shal be no consular
interference if cruelty and oppression are not exhibited. I shall show also that
"stLony of some of Z men, as given upon their first ™™^™>£
worthless, they having declared, upon a subsequent examination, that they were
forced to join the revolt by the others, and their testimony, as first given, was
made to suit their state of insubordination. 12 ASIATIC  COOLIE  TRADE.
Further, I learned that during the voyage one of the men had complained of
a theft of his property, and that the master had ordered the forecastle to be
searched; and that the stolen property was found either upon the person of
Morris or in his possession, or that he had given it to one.of the men; and, upon
my questioniong him upon this point, Morris stated to me that he had found the
property in his berth, and that no one had claimed it.
I would submit, therefore, that charges against their officers from such men
should be received with much caution.
The charge is "unlawful violence and tyranny of the worst description" and
the specifications of the same are
1st. The use, by the officers, of the most loathsome and abusive language on
all occasions.
2d. That the mates threatened to cut them down with eutlasses, and to shoot
them with revolvers which they were stated to carry about with them.
3d. That the mates threw buckets at their heads, also slung shot; and struck
them with handspikes and iron-knuckled gloves.
And the complainants state that the above outrages and assaults were committed without any provocation being given.
I will commence with specification 3d:
Upon the examination I asked each man if he had ever been struck with a
handspike, or had a bucket thrown at his head; and each man replied in the
negative. Further, eaeh man was asked separately if he had ever been struck
with a slung shot, or with a steel or brass-knuckled glove; and they not only
replied that they had not, but, with one exception, when pressed for an answer,
declared that they, individually, had never seen a specimen of either weapon on
board the ship.
If you will look at the minutes of the examination you will find that one man
declared to me he had to complain of "ill usage in every way, manner, and
shape;" and, when requested to particularize this sweeping charge, was unable
to do so. In reply to my questions, however, he declared that he had never
been struck, never flogged, and never personally abused.
The exception referred to above was the man Morris, who states that the
second officer, at the time that he stabbed him, struck him, Morris, with a bucket,
and knoeked him down; he, the second mate, at the time having a slung shot
in his left hand.
On this point the question arises whether it is probable that the officer, being
armed with so easily handled a weapon, would have put himself to the inconvenience of arming himself with so clumsy a one, for close quarters, as a bucket;
or, feeling himself wounded, would not have retaliated upon his antagonist,
either in revenge or self-defence, with this terrible weapon stated to be within
his grasp. The only man who states that Morris was struck with a bucket was
James Wilson, who was, according to his statement, about twenty feet from
Morris on the bridge, while Leavett, who was the tenth man, about, from Morris,
only heard a scuffle.
Specification 2d. The quartermasters were always armed with cutlasses. The
other arms were kept in the cabin. The officers carried arms when on duty
among the coolies, or when the spies informed them that trouble was likely to
be anticipated from them.
The mate admits of having threatened one or two of the men with summary
punishment. This, however, was occasioned by the interpreters complaining to
him that these men had thrown or pushed down some of the coolies; and when
you consider that the lives of all on board were risked by these acts of the
men, it is not to be wondered at that strong language was made use of towards
them, however derogatory the use of the same was to the dignity of the officer.
An habitual use of threats is denied by the first officer. The second officer died
before the examination took place. ASIATIC  COOLIE  TRADE. 13
The 1st specification is that of loathsome and abusive language.
This was a question of veracity between the parties. That the mates are
immaculate in this matter I do not believe, but to the extent attributed to them
I am prepared to doubt.
They admit its casual use under cases of extreme provocation; and if you
will refer to the depositions you will find that certain of the crew could be pro-
lane, and foul-mouthed, and threatening, and violent when it pleased them to
be so.
These 1st, 2d, and 3d specifications I therefore do not consider proved.
The punishments on board have been, as far I can ascertain, as follows:
One man was struck with a mallet by the boatswain, who. was discharged at
One man was struck with a stick to force him to leave the forecastle, an order,
to that effect having been disobeyed by him.
The cook was twice punished in order to force him to keep his person and
galley clean, and for negligence in his special department. This was a punishment by which the crew were certainly to be benefited.
One man,* Antonio Domingo, refused duty, and was made fast to a ringbolt.
This not having the desired effect, and the ship requiring his services, he was
made fast to the barricade; and this coercive measure failing, he was flogged,
and this produced the desired effect, as he gave in at the eleventh lash and went
to work.
Several of the men had been struck by the mates, who, in admitting the
assaults, pleaded that it was absolutely necessary to enforce their legitimate
orders and to maintain their outraged authority.
- These men were all requested by me to return to their duty, and they every
one refused, although informed by me if they persisted in their insubordination
I should be compelled to send them on to the United States for trial.
As there were no means of keeping these men separate on board of the
"Staghound," and I wished to reduce the large marine guard on board, 21 of
them, including Morris, were sent to the guard ship.
After some four or five days had passed, one man on board of the guard ship
asked to be allowed to return to duty. He was immediately liberated and sent
to his ship. The next day nine of those confined on board the "Staghound"
gave in and went to work.
Learning that the men on board of the guard ship were under the impression
that I could not send them to the United States, and that perhaps there might
be others who would return to work if an opportunity was given to them, I sent
a document on board to them assuring them that all, with the exception of
Morris, who would return to work should rejoin their ship; and those who still
refused should be sent home in irons.
This was read to them by the officer of the deck, who then caused one of
their number to read it aloud to the others.   They all refused to return to work.
The steamer left for Singapore the next day, and it was necessary to write to
that port for a crew. I therefore went on board the guard ship in the morning,
had the men called before me, and singled out those whom I took to be the ringleaders, requested the others again to return to their duty, which they refused to
do. Orders were then sent to Singapore to replace them. I then proceeded
again to the "Staghound," and re-examined the men who had given in. From
their examination you will see that they joined the revolt from fear of the others,
who forced them to join with menaces of bodily harm if they refused; and that
they only rejoined their ship with the proviso that the ringleaders should not be
received on board.
The insubordinate men, 24 in number, have been removed to the prison on
shore, where they will be detained until I can find opportunities to send them to
the United States for trial. 14 ASIATIC   COOLIE   TRADE.
Such sir, is the history of this mutiny. I was desirous of reducing this
report as much as possible, but feel it a duty to myself to submit to you these
full particulars, inasmuch as the unpleasant duty has been forced upon me of
requiring the temporary incarceration here of so large a body of men.
You will notice that I have exhausted every means in my power to bring
them to a sense of their duty.
The men on board the Staghound who have returned to duty were very
anxious to know how far their conduct had affected their wages. This, I told
them, was a matter for the tribunals at home to settle; that I had nothing to do
with it.
If it is asked why I was willing to allow all the men to rejoin the ship if
they would return to work, I would say that no men were to be obtained here,
* and it was absolutely necessary to get the ship, with such a cargo, out of this
port. Already some five or six of the Chinese had died, and two had committed
suicide, and I was afraid of some disease breaking out among them, cooped up
as they were on shipboard.
Calling your attention particularly to the more prominent and odious features
of this mutiny, I close this report, respectfully submitting the same.
U. S. Consul.
Hon. Lewis Cass,
Secretary of State of the United States, Washington.
Cuban company for emigration to Havana.
Name, 4; age, 32; province, Fokien; profession, laborer.
I, Uuntchooan, native of the town of Tchungtchoo, in China, of the age of
years; say that I have agreed with Mr. B. W. Tucker, agent of Messrs.
Fernandez, Schemper & Co., as is expressed in the following clauses:
1. From this time forth I am bounden to embark for Havana, in the island
of Cuba, in such vessel as the said gentleman may designate to me.
2. I am in liKe manner bounden and subject during the term of eight years
to labor in the said country, the island of Cuba, under the orders of Messrs.
Fernandez, Schemper & Co., or those of the person to whom they may transfer
this contract, (for which purpose I empower them,) in ail tasks customary in that
country, in the field or in the towns, or wherever they may send me, either in
private houses, or in establishments of any kind of industry or art, or in sugar-
mills, and plantations, coffee estates, stock farms for cattle or horses, farms, or
whatever may pertain to urban or rural labors of whatever kind they may be.
3. The eight years of engagement I speak of, entered into in the terms expressed in the preceding clause, shall begin to run from the eighth day following
my arrival at the port aforesaid of the Havana, conditioned that I arrive in good
health, and from the eighth day following my discharge from the hospital or infirmary, in case I should arrive in ill health, or incapable of laboring at the time
of my landing.
4. The hours during which I must labor will depend on the nature of the
labor which may be assigned to me, and according to the attentions which said
labor may require, which rests at the disposal of the overseers under whose
orders I may be placed, on condition always that I have successive hours of repose during every twenty-four hours, and also the time needful for dinner and
breakfast, which is allowed to other regular laborers in that country.
5. Besides the hours of rest during the days of labor no work shall be hn- ASIATIC  COOLIE  TRADE. 15
posed upon me on Sundays, except that of necessity to be performed on such
days, in accordance with the nature of the employments in which I am occupied.
6. I in like manner subject myself to the order and discipline which may
be observed in the establishment, workshop, estate, or private dwelling to which
I may be sent, and I submit myself to the system of correction which may be
imposed at such places for want of application and steadiness at work, of obedience to the orders of the overseers or their deputies, and for all faults whose
gravity does not call for the intervention of the laws.
7. On no cause or account shall I, during the eight years for which I am
bound by this contract, refuse my services to the employer who may take me,
nor escape from his control, or attempt to do so for any cause whatever, and
without any indemnity; and to manifest my willingness to continue with him
under his authority within the limits of the contract which I here execute, I renounce henceforth all right of rescission of the contract which is allowed to
colonists under articles 27 and 28 of the ordnances on colonization, promulgated
by her Majesty the Queen Dona Isabel 2d on the 22d March, 1854, and which
any other law or regulation whatever which may in future be published might
authorize to me, notwithstanding the tenor of articles 43, 44, and 45, of the
regulation cited, because I also renounce the right which they might confer on
me, for no other consideration than that by force only of costly and extended
proceedings could I attain my justification or reproof.
8. As to cases of sickness, I consent and stipulate that if such exceed a
week, my wages shall be suspended, and the same shall not again run in my
favor until my return to health, or, what is the same thing, until my health permits me to employ myself in the service of my master.
Mr. B. W. Tucker covenants on his part with me:
1. That, from the day on which the eight years of my engagement begin to
Teekon, my salary of four dollars a month shall also begin to run.
2. That he shall supply me with food, each day eight ounces of salt meat,
and two and a half pounds of sweet potatoes, or other wholesome and nourishing
3. During my sickness he is to provide for me at the infirmary such attendance as my maladies require, with the help, medicine, and medical skill which
my ailments and restoration need during the length of time they may endure.
4. That there be given to me two changes of clothes, a woollen shirt, and a
franzuela every year.
5. My passage money to the Havana and my sustenance on shipboard shall
be at the cost of the same person and of whom it may concern.
6. The same party shall advance me the sum of eight silver dollars for my
outfit for the voyage which I am going to undertake.
?. He shall also give me four changes of clothing, a coverlet, and other
articles necessary, which, amounting to four dollars, and, with others, to the
value of twelve dollars together, I will satisfy at Havana to the order of Messrs.
Fernandez, Schemper & Co., with one dollar a month, which shall be deducted
from my salary by the party to whom this contract may be transferred, it being
understood that under no other pretext shall any discount whatever be charged
to me.
I declare that I have received in money and in clothing, as expressed in the
last clause, the sum specified of twelve dollars, which I will make good at the
Havana in the form stated in said clause.
I also declare that I assent to the salary as stipulated, although I know, and
it is plain to me, that much more would be gained by free day laborers and
slaves in the Island of Cuba, because I consider this difference compensated by
other advantages which my patron is to provide me with, and those which appear upon this contract. 1*6* ASIATIC  COOLIE  TRADE.
And in testimony that we will mutually fulfil what is agreed upon in this
contract, we both contracting sign two of the same tenor and for the one purpose, at ,• the 24th February, 1860.
(Signature of Chinese in Chinese character.)
J. H. Hyatt, Jr.,
U. S. Consular Interpreter, Amoy.
N. B.—The contract is not signed by B. W. Tucker.
Mr. Anthon,jr., to Mr. Cass.
No. 7.] United States Consulate,
Batavia, May 8, 1860.
Sir : Referring to my despatch No. 6, herewith, I would, in addition to the
same, call your attention to the following slip taken from the " China Overland
Trade Report" of the date of April 14, 1860.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
United States Consul.
The coolie slave trade continues in the face of all remonstrance and propriety.
Spanish vessels load at a celebrated pirate haunt, and it is more than suspected
that they trade with pirates for then* victims. Intelligence has been received
of a fearful tragedy which occurred on board the American ship " Messenger,"
on her passage down the China sea, laden with coolies for Havana. It seems
these rose in such a determined manner that upwards of a hundred were shot.
Nothing can characterize this detestable traffic more conclusively than the fact
that, whilst every American ship that has taken coolies to Havana this season
has been the arena for one of these tragedies, every British ship that has taken
Chinese to Demarara has been entirely exempt from them. The Canton commissioners have been induced to extend the time for the departure of these
Cuban slave ships to 1st May, one month later than usual, which will place the
ship in the China sea at the worst season of the year.
Mr. Cass to Mr. Dallas.
No. 264.J Department of State,
Washington, June 20, 1860.
Sir : From information just received at this department from the consul of the
United States at Batavia, in the island of Java, it appears that a mutiny took
place on board of the United States merchant vessel "Staghound," of Boston,
in Angier Roads in the Straits of? Sunda, on the 31st of March last, while that
vessel was on her passage from Swatow, in China, to Havana, in the island of
Cuba, with some 390 or 400 Chinese coolies on board; and that, at the request
of the master of the " Staghound," Captain Lord John Hay, of her Britannic
Majesty's ship "Odin," co-operated with the officers and crew of the United
States merchant vessel "Competitor," then in company with her, in placing the
crew of the "Staghound" in confinement on board of their vessel. ASIATIC   COOLIE  TRADE. 17
I have accordingly to request that you will take an early opportunity to convey to her Majesty's government an expression of the President's thanks for the
assistance afforded by Lord John Hay on the occasion referred to.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
George M. Dallas, Esq., _yc., fyc, fyc.
Lord John Russell to Lord Lyons.
Foreign Office, July 11, 1860.
My Lord : I transmit to your lordship herewith copies of a correspondence
relating to the emigration of Chinese coolies, which has been presented to both
houses of Parliament by command of her Majesty, and I have to desire that you
will call the attention of the United States government to these papers, as bearing upon the important question of the suppression of the slave trade, and the
supply of labor to those parts of the world the climate of which is unsuited to
white labor.
** * * * * * * ##
But no doubt the difficulties of suppressing the slave trade arise mainly from
the demand which exists in Cuba and similar countries for laborers suited to a
hot climate; and if this demand could be lawfully supplied, the incentives to
engage in an illegal traffic in African laborers would be greatly diminished, and
the price of a slave might be enhanced far beyond that of a free laborer.
This supply her Majesty's government confidently believe may be obtained
from China.
The state of society in that vast empire, where the population is superabundant
and at the same time civilized, where regular laws can be enforced, and the hiring
of laborers for the purposes of emigration may be reduced to method^ affords
peculiar opportunities for organizing a system of emigration by which the wants
of those countries which have heretofore looked to Africa for laborers may be
fully supplied.
Great abuses have unfortunately prevailed in the Chinese ports where the
emigration of coolies has been carried on.
Men have been kidnapped by unscrupulous agents employed by European
contractors to collect coolies; and the scenes of oppression and misery which
have taken place in the barracoons where the coolies have been assembled, and
on board the ships in which they have been conveyed across the sea, have borne
only too close a resemblance to the corresponding circumstances connected with
the African slave trade.
If such abuses were suffered to continue unchecked, the exasperation created
thereby amongst the Chinese population would seriously endanger the safety of
the lives and property of the whole European community in China.
But happily it has been proved by recent experience at Canton that Chinese
emigration may, under proper regulations and superintendence, be conducted in
such a manner as to prevent the occurrence of the evils complained of.
The Chinese authorities who had hitherto been most averse to the emigration
have at Canton recognized the advantages which may be derived from it under
a proper system; and I have to direct your particular attention to the proclamation of the governor general, Laon, on this subject, which you will find at page
134 of the papers herewith sent.
Moreover, under the regulations which have been introduced by the agent in
H. Ex. Doc. 16 2 I
China of her Majesty's government in conjunction with the Chinese and the
allied authorities at Canton, it has been found practicable to induce whole families of Chinese to emigrate. A considerable number of such families have
emigrated to Demerara, and there is every reason to hope that with time and
care the prejudices which have hitherto prevented Chinese women from emigrating may be entirely overcome.
It is scarcely necessary to say anything as to the efficiency of the Chinese
coolies as laborers, as that is admitted by all who have had experience of them:
indeed the impossibility of inducing the Chinese women to emigrate has been
the only serious obstacle to Chinese colonization on an extensive scale.
These fair prospects, however, will be marred if the various European and
American governments interested in Chinese emigration do not combine to enforce stringent regulations upon those who are engaged in conducting it; and
her Majesty's government earnestly hope that the United States government
will take the necessary measures for this purpose.
By judiciously promoting the emigration from China, and at the same time
vigorously repressing the infamous traffic in African slaves, the Christian governments of Europe and America may confer benefits upon a large portion of the
human race, the effects of which it would be difficult to exaggerate.
Her Majesty's government therefore propose, with a view to the final extinction of the slave trade—
1. A systematic plan of cruising on the coast of Cuba by the vessels of
Great Britain, Spain, and the United States.
2. Laws of registration and inspection in the Island of Cuba, by which the
employment of slaves imported contrary to law might be detected by Spanish
3. A plan of emigration from China, regulated by the agents of European
nations in conjunction with the Chinese authorities.
Lastly, I have to call your attention to the following passage in the message
of the President of the United States, of May:
" It is truly lamentable that Great Britain and the United States should be
obliged to expend such a vast amount of blood and treasure for the suppression
of the African slave trade, and this when the only portions of the civilized
world where it is tolerated and encouraged are the Spanish islands of Cuba
and Puerto Rico."
I have to instruct you to communicate to General Cass copies of this despatch and of the papers by which it is accompanied.
I am, &c,
Lord Lyons, fyc., Sfc., fye.
Mr. Dallas to Mr. Cass.
No. 280.] Legation of the United States,
London, July 21, 1860.
Sir : Your No. 264, of the 20th of June, 1860, instructed me to convey to
the British government an expression of the President's thanks for the assistance afforded by Captain Lord John Hay, of her Majesty's ship "Odin," in
quelling a mutiny on board the American merchantman " Staghound," of Boston, in the Straits of Sunda, on 31st March last.
Copies of the notes upon this subject, interchanged between her Majesty's
principal secretary of state for foreign affairs and myself, are subjoined.
I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant,
Hon. Lewis Cass, Secretary of State. ASIATIC  COOLIE  TRADE. 19
Mr. Dallas to Lord John Russell.
Legation of the United States,
London, July 16, 1860.
My Lord : The government at Washington have learned with much satisfaction, by an official report from the consul of the United States at Batavia, the
course generously and vigorously pursued by Captain Lord John Hay, of her
Majesty's ship " Odin," while in Anger Roads, in the Straits of Sunda, on the
thirty-first of March last.
It appears that a mutiny took place on an American merchant vessel, the
"Staghound," of Boston, while on her passage from Swatow, in China, to
Havana, with some three hundred and ninety or four hundred Chinese coolies
on board, and that, at the request of the master of the Staghound, and in cooperation with the officers and crew of another American merchant vessel, then
present, his lordship succeeded in placing the mutinous crew of the "Staghound"
in confinement on board of their vessel.
I am, therefore, specially instructed to convey to her Majesty's government
an expression of the President's thanks for the assistance afforded by Captain
Lord John Hay on the occasion referred to.
I beg your lordship to accept the renewed assurance of the high consideration
with which I have the honor to be your most obedient, humble servant,
Lord John Russell to Mr. Dallas.
Foreign Office, July 24, 1860.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th
instant, respecting the services rendered by Captain Lord John Hay, of her
Majesty's ship " Odin," in suppressing the mutiny on board the United States
merchant vessel "Staghound;" and I request that you will assure your government that her Majesty's government have learned with satisfaction that his lordship was able to render assistance upon the occasion in question.
I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your most obedient,
humble servant,
G. M. Dallas, Esq., fyc., fyc., fyc.
Mr. Savage to Mr. Cass.
No. 42.]       Consulate General of the United States of America,
Havana, August 14, 1860.
Sir : In my despatch No. 4 (14th of February last) I had the honor to advise
you of a decree just issued by the governor general of Cuba, forbidding the
importation of Chinese coolies from and after the 1st of January, 1861. In the
same despatch I remarked that the question had been long pending before the
supreme government of Spain. This question has at last been resolved upon
favorably to the continuation of the trade, "as that which, among the various
experiments tried in the island, presents the least number of objections." Under
a regulation prescribing the manner of introducing the coolies, and obligations to 20 ASIATIC   COOLIE  TRADE.
be contracted by the importers and coolies, the reciprocal obligations and rights of
the laborers and their patrons, or masters, and the disciplinary jurisdiction of
the patrons or masters.
The royal decree bears date 7th of July, 1860, and was made public here, by
order of the captain general, on the 2d instant. I accompany herewith a copy
of the official gazette, containing the royal'order, and beg the indulgence of the
department for not sending a translation of the same order. I have not had the
time to prepare a translation of such a long document.
The ship "Staghound," of Boston, Hussey master, arrived on the  10th
instant, from Swatow, with three hundred and forty-three coolies, fifty-seven
having died on the passage, and the master, who was in feeble health when she
left China, died on the morning of the day of arrival in this port.
With great respect, sir, your obedient servant,
United States Vice-Consul General.
Hon. Lewis Cass,
Secretary of State of the United States, Washington.
Mr. Savage to Mr. Cass.
3-Jo. 48.] Consulate General of the United States,
Havana, September 6, 1860.
Sir: The governor captain general of this island has granted permission,
-under date of the 4th instant, to Messrs. Jose & Antonio Cabarga and Canet
*& Garvalena, merchants of Havana, in connexion with Mr. Charles Burrill, of
Boston, -and Mr. James C. Jewett, of New York, to introduce in this island, by
way of experiment, five thousand (5,000) coolies, or colonists, from the islands
of Polynesia, under the same regulations governing the importation of Chinese,
the permission to be of no effect if not approved of by the supreme government
at Madrid. But the parties interested feel confident that the scheme will meet
with no obstacle from her Majesty's government.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Vice-Consul General.
Hon. Lewis Cass,
Secretary of State of the United States, Washington.
Lord John Russell to Lord Lyons.
Foreign Office,
September 10, 1860.
My Lord:
Before concluding this despatch I would wish, with reference to that part of
Mr. Trescot's note* in which he states that the introduction of heathen coolies
from China into the United States would demoralize the peaceful, contented, and
orderly slaves in the southern States, and in the free States would bring these
I See Executive Document No. 7, House of Representatives, 36th Congress, 2d session
page 446. ASIATIC  COOLIE  TRADE. 21
coolies into competition with respectable and industrious laborers, to observe that
her Majesty's government never contemplated the introduction of Chinese into
the United States, nor supposed that African slaves were habitually or frequently
imported into the United States. What her Majesty's government proposed
was, that Chinese laborers should be introduced into Cuba as a substitute for
African negroes. But her Majesty's government would remark, that Chinese
laborers have been introduced, in considerable numbers, into the British West
Indies, and into the island of Mauritius, without producing any of the evils and
inconveniences which Mr. Trescot anticipates as likely to arise from them if
they were introduced into the United States.
You are instructed to read this despatch to General Cass, and to leave a copy
of it with him.
I am, &c,
Lord Lyons, fyc., fyc, fye.
Mr. Savage to Mr. Cass.
No. 56.]       Consulate General of the United States of America,
Havana, September 27, 1860.
The ship Governor Morton, of New York, of one thousand four hundred and
twenty-nine tons, (1,429 T,) commanded by J. Charles Berry, and owned by
Elias B. Brown and others, arrived on the 14th instant, in one hundred and
thirty days (130) from Canton, where she embarked five hundred and fifty-seven
(557) coolies, of whom she delivered here five hundred and fifty-three (553) in
perfect health. The other four died on the passage, and are reported to have
come on board in poor health.
I have the honor to be, sir, with profound respect, your obedient servant,
Vice-Consul General.
Hon. Lewis Cass,
Secretary of State of the United States, Washington.
Mr. Breck to Mr. Seward.
No. 21.] United States Consulate,
Swatow, China, March 6, 1861.
I have the honor further to advise that, should any rules or regulations be
made by the Chinese government in relation to the coolie traffic at this port, it
will be my pleasure to see that they are enforced and strictly obeyed by all
American vessels. Until the adoption of some such rules or regulations, I shall
permit no American vessel to leave the port with coolies on board until each
one fully understands where he is bound, and the nature of his contract, and is
willing to abide by it, and his free consent given in the presence of his friends 22 ASIATIC  COOLIE  TRADE.
and relations who remain behind, with their knowledge and understanding of
its probable result. Trusting that such action will meet the approbation of the
I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
United States Consul.
The Honorable Secretary of State, Washington.
Mr. Breck to Mr. Seward.
No. 22.] United States Consulate,
Swatow, China, March 6, 1861
The natives of certain districts in China possess characteristics which give
them celebrity throughout the Chinese world. Those of Tiechin are noted for
maritime daring, bravery, size and turbulence. Clannish feuds are extremely
frequent, and the inhabitants of the villages within a few miles of Swatow, are
at the present time engaged in warfare, and it is certain death for the natives of
one village to be taken in or near another but three or four miles distant. In
no district in China is the hostility to foreigners greater than in this, and that
not without cause. For many years this has been the important opium port in
China, and the wicked impositions and practices perpetrated upon the people,
growing out of this, at the time, illegal traffic, can hardly be realized. In addition to that, it is estimated that from this district, and shipped from this port,
between forty and fifty thousand coolies have been seduced, stolen and taken
to Havana and the Chincha Islands, not one of whom has ever returned. The
opium and coolie trade contributed to make Swatow a place of resort for foreign
vessels long before it was opened by treaty, and the results and horrors of their
former intercourse with foreigners are yet fresh in the minds of the people, and
will undoubtedly, for a long time to come, greatly depress and embarrass trade
at this port.
I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
United States Consul.
The Honorable Secretary of State, Washington.
Mr. Breck to Mr. Seward.
[Extract ]
No. 25.] United States Consulate,
Swatotv, China, March 16, 1861.
Sir : I have the honor to advise the department that I have appointed Charles
W. Bradley, jr., esq., a citizen of the State of Connecticut, U. S. A., in every
respect a worthy, upright, honorable man, and good citizen, as acting vice-consul at this port during my absence at Ningpo. Mr. Bradley will report to me
by every opportunity in respect to all matters at this place, and I have enjoined ASIATIC   COOLIE  TRADE. 23
upon him carefully to observe and carry into effect the declared wishes of the
government in respect to the coolie traffic, and the necessity of resorting to all
legal measures to arrest it.    The appearance of an American vessel at or near
this port, for the purpose of engaging, in this traffic, will immediately be reported
to me, and personally I will carry into effect the instructions of the American
minister to China under date of February 18, 1858.
As advised in a former communication, there are no American vessels at this
I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. Secretary of State, Washington.
Mr. Stribling to Mr. Black.
No. 7.] Legation of the United States,
U. S. Flag Ship " Hartford,"
Hong Kong, March 26, 1861.
Sir : On the 24th of February last the coolie passengers on board the American ship " Leonidas," then at anchor near Canton, rose upon the crew of the
vessel, and before they were subdued the master and several of the crew of the
ship were badly wounded, and several of the coolies killed or drowned in attempting to swim on shore. On this occasion the commanding officer of the
French frigate " Durance," Lieutenant Commanding William Howorth, of the
British gunboat " Weasel," Lieutenant J. R. Street, of the 3d regiment of Bengal
native infantry, commanding a fort on the river near the ship, rendered the most
prompt and efficient service in restoring order on board the ship. Dr. W. J. P.
Purcell, an assistant surgeon in the British navy, volunteered his services, and
was unremitting in his attentions to the wounded, and continued to attend them
afterwards at considerable personal inconvenience. I have thought it proper to
address Captain Couprent Desbois, of the French navy, and commanding the
French forces at Canton, Admiral Jones, the senior British naval officer here,
and Brigadier General Crawford, commanding the British forces at Canton,
expressing my thanks for the valuable service rendered by the several officers
above mentioned under their command, and informing them that I should bring
the affair to the notice of the government of the United States, as I now do.
I enclose herewith the report of Mr. Perry of the affair on board the " Leonidas." He appears, on this occasion, to have been prompt and decided in the
measures to be used in quelling the coolies, and in restoring order on board the
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Flag Officer, Charge d* Affairs ad interim.
Hon. J. S. Black,
Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
Mr. Perry to Mr. Stribling.
N0 19 ] United States Consulate,
'J Canton, March 12, 1861.
Sir :   Between the hour of 10.30 and 11 a. m. on the 24th of February,
(Sunday,) a person appeared at the consulate and stated that he wished to see 24 ASIATIC  COOLIE  TRADE.
the consul, (to the Chinese servants.) One of them reported the same to me,
when I told him to tell the person that it was Sunday, and that I could not
transact any business with him on that day. This message, I suppose, was
fully reported, as almost immediately the servant returned and stated that the
person who desired to see me was a seaman from the American ship " Leonidas,"
(a vessel carrying coolies from this port to Havana,) and that there had been
an insurrection on board the said ship, and that several of the officers had been
killed and several of the crew wounded. I immediately went and saw the
person. He informed me that he was a seaman belonging to the American ship
" Leonidas; " that on that morning, (the ship being at anchor in the Macow
passage, about five and a half miles below Canton,) at about nine o'clock, the
coolies had risen upon the officers and crew of the vessel; that several were
seriously wounded, and that two of them were dying or dead; that after the
crew had succeeded in driving the coolies below who were on deck, (many
having jumped overboard,) they attempted to set fire to the ship. I lost no
time to obtain assistance.
There being no American vessel of war within these waters, I first went to
the French consul, Le Baron de Treuqualye, to obtain assistance from the
French man-of-war. After explaining to him the object of my call, he most
willingly stated, though being much occupied, that he would accompany me to
the office of the French commander-in-chief, or that he would furnish me with
a letter addressed to him, stating fully the object of my call. I replied to the
Baron, that although the commander-in-chief lived a long distance within the
city, that I would nevertheless be glad to receive a note addressed to him, to
make use of in case of need; but I would first go to the British consulate and
endeavor to obtain the assistance of an English gunboat, and from thence to
the custom-house, and endeavor to obtain the custom-house steamer. The
French consul thereupon kindly furnished me with a note addressed to the
French commander-in-chief.
I then proceeded to the British consulate, and was fortunate enough to find
the consul at home. After relating to Mr. Robertson the facts of the disturbance as they had been reported to me, he immediately volunteered himself to
go down (some two miles) and see the commanding naval officer, and, if possible, obtain a gunboat to go to the assistance of the "Leonidas;" and he immediately started off in his boat for that purpose. I then started for the customhouse ; but, it being Sunday, the principal officials, Mr. Glover and Mr. Hart,
were out, (they reside in the custom-house building.) Addressed an open note
to them both, stating the object of my visit. In a short time I received a note
from them, stating that the customs steamer was ordered to get up steam immediately, and a passage to the ship was offered me. In the meantime Lieutenant
Geiquel, of the French navy, and attached to the allied commission, called upon
me and stated that orders had been given for the boats from his Imperial Majesty's frigate " Durance" to proceed at once to the aid and assistance of the
said ship. About the same time Mr. Robertson, the British consul, called and
stated that he had fortunately found the commanding naval officer of her Majesty's naval forces, when returning from church, and that the officer had given
immediate orders for a gunboat to get up steam as quickly as possible, and proceed to the assistance of the " Leonidas."
I then proceeded on board the custom-house steamer, which vessel was nearly
ready to start, and, a few minutes after arriving on board, the commander,
Howorth, of her Majesty's gunboat "Weazel," came alongside and inquired if
the American consul was on board. 1 immediately went to the gangway and
met him. He stated that, as it would take some time to get up steam on board
the gunboat, he had ordered three armed boats to proceed to the " Leonidas;"
that two were in advance of him, and that the gunboat Would follow as soon as
possible.    (I would state that the boats had then pulled fully two miles.)    I ASIATIC   COOLIE  TRADE 25
thanked the captain, and suggested to him that he had better make fast his boat
to the stern of the steamer. Within a few minutes the two boats in advance
returned, stating that they had met one of the boats of the French frigate returning, with some wounded men on board, and that they had reported that all
was right again on board the " Leonidas." However, Lieutenant Commanding
Howorth preferred to proceed, and his boats were taken in tow by the steamer,
when we proceeded to the " Leonidas." As we approached near the vessel another French boat passed us, coming from the ship.
When I arrived on board I found the 2d mate and crew all armed, the captain, 1st and 3d mates, and captain's wife having gone to the Macao fort and the
French frigate for the purpose of having their wounds dressed. The steward
and one of the boys were also wounded. There was also on board a guard of
English troops. The deck was covered with broken plates and basins; there
was also blood on deck, on the bulwarks, and in the cabin, on the bulkheads,
and in several places on the floor. A number of Chinese were fastened to an
iron bar, nearly all of whom appeared to be wounded. There was the dead
body of a Chinaman on the port side of the deck, and another in a dying state;
he died before I left the vessel that evening. They both had gunshot wounds,
and one was very badly cut with a cutlass.
I then went below, and found the lower deck in the same state of confusion—
broken boxes, plates, dishes, tea, clothes, &c, being scattered all over the deck;
also marks of fire where they had lighted bed-clothes for the purpose of setting
fire to the ship. Some of the ship's planking below the iron bars across the
stern windows had been broken out, leaving a hole sufficiently large for a man
to crawl through, and through which several made their escape by jumping into
the water.
The original number on board at the time of the outbreak was 289; after it
was quelled there were only 201 found. It was impossible to ascertain accurately the number of killed and drowned, or how many succeeded in swimming
ashore. From all the information that I could gather, I am satisfied that the
attempt to seize the ship was premeditated, and that they had accomplices on
shore and in boats near at hand ready to go to their assistance; but discovering that the fight was going against the coolies, they did not approach
the ship.
About an hour after my arrival on board the ship the captain came on board.
He had received a very severe cut across the bridge of his nose; he was also
much bruised across the loins, where he had been struck with an iron bar.
The commander of the gunboat having kindly offered to tow the ship up to
Canton, I advised the captain to take advantage of his offer* as it was unsafe
for him to remain at anchor where his ship was with so many desperate coolies
on board, himself being wounded, and the 1st and 3d mates being absent from
the ship having their wounds attended to; and, besides that, a full investigation
of the affair would have to be made.
The captain consented to have his vessel towed back to Canton; but, as the
tide was at that time very low, we were obliged to remain. In the meantime I
told the soldiers, who wished to go on shore to get their suppers, that they
might go, and a guard was sent on board from the gunboat, which had anchored
near the ship. I then went to the fort near by to see the 1st mate, Mr. Orton.
I was accompanied by Surgeon Purcell, of the British navy, who, after examining him, declared that he was in a very critical state. He had several very
severe cuts on his head and a very serious bruise across the pit of his stomach,
where he had been struck with an iron bar. His wounds had been dressed, and
he was receiving the best of attention and kindness from the commanding officer
of the fort and his subordinates, for which I expressed to the commander my
thanks and obligations.
At 11.30 p. m. the " Leonidas" was taken in tow by the gunboat and towed 26 ASIATIC  COOLIE  TRADE.
up to Canton, and at 12.30 a. m. anchored under the guns of the French frigate
" Durance," off the Shamun.
On the following day, the 25fch, at about 3 p. m., a mandarin, with six attaches, went on board the vessel, and held a post mortem examination over the
bodies of the two dead Chinamen. They stated that they were satisfied, and
remarked that they would take them on shore and have them buried. They
asked for $10 to pay for the coffins, which the captain gave them, and they took
the bodies on shore.
During the mornmg I received a communication from the allied commissioners,
asking authority for the allied and Chinese inspectors of emigration to go on
board the "Leonidas," "for the purpose of investigating and reporting upon the
causes of the disturbances which took place yesterday among the emigrants on
board that vessel."
I replied that the authority asked for was most cheerfully given, as I desired
that a full and thorough investigation should be made, not only by the allied
and Chinese authorities, but also by all others who might feel interested. (A
copy of the correspondence I herewith enclose, marked Nos. 1 and 2.) During
the day I called on board the French frigate, the " Durance," and, after thanking the captain for his kindness in sending his boats to the " Leonidas," and
also for the care and attention he had bestowed on the 3d mate, Mr. Tucker, and
the boy, I then accompanied him, with the surgeon of the ship, down into the
hospital, and saw Mr. Tucker. He was much cut and bruised about the head.
The doctor told me that at one time he thought the wounds would prove fatal,
but that he was then better, though not out of danger, and that, if the cool
weather continued, he thought he would entirely recover.
On the morning of the 26th I went, accompanied by Mr. Bonney, the interpreter to the consulate, and Mr. Crutchett, my clerk, on board the " Leonidas,"
to be present during the investigation made by the allied and Chinese authorities, and also to take minutes of the evidence. On arriving on board I found
Lieutenant de Vaissian Sergent, the French, and Mr. Mackay, the British inspector.    Shortly afterward a Chinese mandarin came on board.
The captain, second mate, and several of the crew were examined. Mr.
Mackay took the evidence as it was given, and he wrote it down so carefully
and correctly that I stopped taking notes myself, relying entirely upon the correctness of his minutes, a copy of which I enclose, numbered 3. On this
occasion I directed that all the coolies in irons on deck, excepting those that
could be identified as being at all engaged in the fight, be taken out of irons,
which was accordingly done, leaving 14 confined in irons.
On the 2d of March I wrote on to the Chinese magistrate having jurisdiction
in the case, to send a guard on board the ship and take out the 14 coolies and
take them to his magisterial office, for the purpose of having them examined
and punished, which he did, and on the 7th returned the whole 14 to me, and I
sent them on board the ship again.
The " Leonidas " is now taking in coolies to make up her full complement,
under the inspection and supervision of the allied and Chinese authorities. The
captain and his wife have almost entirely recovered from the wounds received
during the outbreak. The first mate is very much better and is on board ship,
although still confined to his state-room. He intends to go in the ship. The
third mate is still on board the French frigate, but recovering rapidly. The
steward and boy have quite recovered.
I cannot close this despatch without calling your attention to the promptness
with which the English and French officers, upon hearing of the outbreak on
board the "Leonidas," sent aid and assistance to her; the English officers,
Lieutenant J. R. Strutt, 3d regiment Bombay native infantry, who went himself on board immediately on hearing of the outbreak, and sent a communication
to me, detailing what he saw and did on his arrival on board, a copy of which ASIATIC   COOLIE  TRADE. 27
I herewith enclose, marked No. 4; Commander Howorth, the senior British
naval officer at that time at'Canton, and commanding her Britannic Majesty's
gunboat "Weazel;" and also Surgeon Purcell, of her Majesty's navy, who
volunteered to accompany the gunboat and look after the wounded men ; also
the French officer at present in command of his Imperial Majesty's frigate
" Durance."
I have written officially to the first two mentioned officers, (copies of my
letters to them and Commander Howorth's reply I enclose, marked Nos. 5, 6,
and 7.) I have not written officially to the commanding officer of the French
frigate " Durance," as I have not yet ascertained his name.
You will observe, on perusal of my letters of thanks to these officers, that I
expressly state that I would bring to your especial notice the services rendered
by them on the above-mentioned occasion, and I hope you will be able to make
it convenient to yourself and consistent with your duty to thank these officers
in writing.
If you enclose, under cover to me, any letters addressed to these officers, I
will make it a point to see that they reach them safely.
A letter addressed to the commanding officer of the French frigate " Durance " would answer.
Respectfully, I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant,
United States Consul.
Flag Officer C. K. Stribling,
Commanding U. S. naval forces, China station, fyc., fyc, fyc.
No. 1.
Messrs. Rownall and Sauonarur to Mr. Perry.
Allied Commissioners Samun,
Canton, February 25, 1861.
Sir : The allied commissioners have the honor to request that authority may
be given to the allied and Chinese inspectors of emigration to proceed on board
the American ship " Leonidas " for the purpose of investigating and reporting
upon the causes of the disturbances which took place yesterday among the
emigrants on board that vessel.
We are, sir, your most obedient servants,
Allied Commissioners.
The American Consul, Canton.
No. 2.
Mr. Perry to the Allied Commissioners.
United States Consulate,
February 25, 1861.
Gentlemen : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of this date, requesting "that authority may be given to the allied and
Chinese inspectors of emigration to proceed on board the American ship ' Leon- 28 ASIATIC   COOLIE   TRADE.
idas' for the purpose of investigating and reporting upon the causes of the
disturbances which took place yesterday among the emigrants on board that
In reply, I have to state that the authority which you request is most fully
and cheerfully given, as I desire that a full and thorough examination should be
made, not only by the allied and Chinese authorities, but also by all others who
may feel interested.
I have the honor to be, gentlemen, your most obedient servant,
United States Consul.
The Allied Commissioners,
Spc., Sfc., Sfc., Canton.
No. 3.
Notes of an investigation into the riot, attended with loss of life, on board the Leonidas, which occurred on Sunday, the 2kth February, 1861, at 9 a. m.
Captain Wood, master of the American vessel " Leonidas."
On Sunday morning, the 24th of February, I was sitting outside, about 9 a.
m., with my wife. We had breakfasted, and I had just told one of the mates
to let up a portion of the men to breakfast. Between 80 and 90 men were
allowed up at one time. Just as these men got on deck, and their food was all
set out, a great noise was heard below, as if a fight was going on. I don't believe there was a fight, but a noise only was made to imitate one in order to
draw attention. The third mate and chief mate jumped below to see what was
the matter, when they were immediately attacked. Both are most dangerously
wounded, and their lives are not considered safe. I jumped below and rescued
the chief mate by tossing him up on deck, and went up myself. I then heard a
cry on deck which led me at once to believe a general attack had been preconcerted and would at once take place. The moment I got on deck I was knocked
down, and before I could reach the barricades, (only 25 feet off,) I was knocked
down three times. I managed to crawl, however, to the barricades through the
legs of the Chinamen on deck. By this time the blood from my wounds was
freely flowing, and I could not see very well what was going on. When I got
inside the barricade and into the cabin, I found my wife there, and wounded.
A few Chinamen were already there endeavoring to get the muskets standing in
the racks round the cabin. I got hold of a bayonet from one of the muskets,
and ran a man through the neck. (Marks of the blood which flew out are
visible on the pannel of the door of the inner cabin.) I seized a musket and
fired it off. This had the effect of clearing the doorway. I then seized another
and fired it off on the port side, and then another on the starboard side. I then
went out on deck to take a look round. My men were all engaged in fighting
with the men on deck. Many boats were around the vessel. A cry of fire was
then raised. It appears that the coolies below had collected bedding and paper,
and endeavored to fire the vessel. I ordered over the hatches wet sails to be
put.    (The hatches are large, open iron gratings about five feet square.)
The men below tried to escape by jumping through the stern ports. Two in
succession as they jumped out were shot dead. The third I suffered to reach
the water without firing, and then picked him up alive. By this time I had got
my boat out. I ordered water to be thrown down the hold. The coolies began
to break open the stern ports with iron bars.    By this time the coolies below, ASIATIC   COOLIE  TRADE. 29
finding the fire dangerous to themselves, began to heave it out through the stern
ports. I heard the coolies trying to break open the side ports, but they did not
succeed. I fired two shots down in the hold at the time the men were trying to
fire the vessel, in order to stop them. As soon as the muskets first began to be
fired off, the men began to jump overboard from all parts of the vessel.
When the fight was quelled I mustered the officers and men, and found the
third mate missing. About half an hour afterwards the sail over the hatch was
observed to move. On pushing it on one side the mate was found to have got
there, and trying to get out. A few men below tried to prevent him, but on
pointing muskets at them they desisted.
I put Mrs. Wood, the first mate, and a wounded sailor into the boat, and sent
them to the Macao fort. The officer commanding there came himself to my
ship, and left a guard of men with me. The captain of the " Durance " came on
board and offered me the use of his boat to go to his vessel and have my
wounds dressed. I accepted the offer, and by the time I returned to my ship,
being absent a little over an hour, I found the United States consul, Mr. Perry,
had arrived. The consul ordered my vessel to return to Canton, and she was
towed back by the " Weazel" gunboat.
I noticed, before the disturbance, a great many boats. They did not look
like fishing boats, but more like piratical boats. They all came out in rank and
file with great regularity, evidently showing a good state of organization. I
feared that they were in concert with my coolies. My fears on this point were
bo strong that on this account I sent to the Macao fort for assistance. Had there
been no boats I should not have required any assistance, as I was enabled with
my own officers and crew to restore order.
The pilot was all the time on board his own boat, lying astern, (not attached
to the vessel, but some distance astern.) He left on Saturday night, and would
give no reasons for not staying on board the ship, so I have since feared that
had the riot been preconcerted, he must have had some cognizance of it. I think
the fight on deck lasted some five or six minutes.
Meredith Howard, 2d mate.
I was forward when the row commenced. A man struck me with a hammer;
I shot him with a revolver. I saw men jumping overboard. A cry of fire was
raised, and I then saw smoke coming from the afterhatch. I saw two men jump
out of the stern ports; they were shot dead. I saw a great number of boats
near the vessel, and this was the only thing that gave me fear. A great many
men were also on the banks of the river, on both sides; the river is narrow
where we were lying. I saw the chief mate holding on to the grating; he was
bleeding very much from the head. I think there must have been some plan
arranged beforehand to take the vessel. The men had no cause of complaint
in any way, as far as I know. They all seemed very cheerful and willing, and
lent a hand in kedging and working the ship going down. I think the fight,
from first to last, did not exceed from five to ten minutes.
John Runion, able seaman.
The men came up to breakfast as usual; about 90 to 100 men; they went to
the port side. A yell was then heard below, when the 1st and 3d officers went
below to quell the disturbance as usual, thinking it was a quarrel amongst the
men. I saw the coolies begin running aft to the cabin to get, as I supposed,
arms. The barricade door was open. I ran aft to save the arms*, but they had
them before me. I saw Mrs. Wood inside the cabin bleeding from the head. I
managed to secure a bayonet, [when I secured the bayonet, it was taken from
the musket held by a coolie with whom I was wrestling.    This coolie was run 30 ASIATIC   COOLIE  TRADE.
through the neck by the captain. The man then dropped the musket, and ran
right forward and jumped overboard from the bows. The other four men who
were in the cabin at the time also ran out] and afterwards a musket, which I
used in self-defence. I saw many men jump overboard. I saw a good many
boats coming from the beach ; they were open, not covered; when they saw
that we were getting the upper hand they went back again. I think the fight
lasted twenty minutes until the ship was all quiet.
I heard the cry of fire, and saw smoke coming up the hatchway; it was then
covered over with wet sails. I stuck several men with my bayonet, but cannot
say whether any were killed or not. I have belonged to the ship from the
The captain always treated the men very kindly, and allowed them all the
privileges he could. I have seen all the men on deck at one time when there
were only two watchmen on deck. I never saw any coolies kicked or beaten.
Notices were posted up in English forbidding the crew to interfere in any manner with the coolies. Chinese notices vwere also posted below, forbidding the
coolies to interfere with the men, but, if they had any complaints to make, to
come at once to the captain with them.
James Stevens, able seaman.
I was forward in the forecastle when the noise of fighting was heard. I ran
out, and saw basins flying about. A coolie struck me with a basin. Two of
the crew were on the forecastle washing themselves; we all joined in the fight.
I saw men jump overboard. I also saw fire in the vessel, and saw fire and
bedding thrown out of the stern ports. I saw boats pulling up, inshore, on each
side of the vessel. My suspicions were raised by seeing the pilot had anchored
his boat along way astern, instead of, as usual, anchoring alongside.
Chinese testimony.
Is there any cause or reason why this disturbance should arise; any cause of
complaint; any reason for being dissatisfied 1
The captain won't let us staoke opium, and the place forward, for easing ourselves, is inconvenient, and only holds one at a time.
[I saw two places, one on the starboard, and one on the larboard side; each
held two men.]
[The captain states that he served opium out every day at eight o'clock to
those who smoked it.]
The captain would not allow a barber to come and shave us.
[The captain says that a barber came twice a week. The agent, Mr. Imbert,
asserts that a barber was always on board.]
A boy complained that, on the evening of the day of the fight, a sailor stole
his waist belt, containing $6, while he was easing himself. The sailor was
pointed out, and called forward, but denied having done so. The boy then said
that there was another sailor who had assisted him, but he could not point him
Another coolie came forward and said a sailor, on the evening of the same day
as the above, stole his waist belt, containing $12. He did not point out, however, the man who had done it; and the second mate recognized the coolie
making the accusation as a man who had lost everything by gambling a fortnight
ago, and who was so poor that he offered to sell his red waistband.
On the deck 24 men were found to be in irons; some had their wrists lashed
together, and a group of about a dozen were fastened by the wrist to a long /
iron bar. ASIATIC   COOLIE   TRADE. 31
Marks and splashes of blood were visible in various places ; also bullet marks,
although the outward marks of the conflict generally had been effaced.
Most of the men mentioned above, in irons, were wounded, either on the head
or hands. One was specially pointed out as having chased a young flesh-colored
lad. with a knife; another, with a gash on his cheek, was recognized by the sailor
who had given it him.
All of the men in irons knew nothing of the disturbance ; even the man who
had chased the sailor lad with a knife denied being on deck at all; he had not
even risen, he said, from bed. These men formed part of the 80 or 90 who
jumped overboard, but they were picked up while in the water, and rescued, or
rather brought back, of course against their will.
The number of killed, wounded, and missing has not yet been accurately
Two were killed on the deck of the vessel, two shot out of the stern ports;
many of the wounded jumped overboard, and it is supposed some must «*have
been drowned. 201 are now on board; 289 came on board; therefore 88 men
are missing.
[This occurred during the investigation, in the middle of the day.]
While on board the ship a cry was raised of "man overboard;" a general
rush was made to the side of the vessel, when a coolie was seen struggling in
the water, as if he meant to either dive, or drown himself. In the excitement
of the moment one of the watch fired his musket at him, but missed. Mr.
Consul Perry expressed himself, immediately, very strongly on the matter, and
directed the captain to take the muskets away from the men, and arm them, instead, with cutlasses; which was done. The rescued man gave, as his reason
for jumping overboard, a fear that he was going to be taken on shore and be beheaded. It was ascertained, before this act, that he had been one of the most
successful gamblers on board, and had won over $300. By his own account, he
had a wife and children in Canton; he also owned 10 acres (Chinese acres) of land,
upon the rental of which he could manage always to live without working.
He admitted having been a gambler from his boyhood upwards. He went on
board writh $19 of his advance, avowedly to gamble and increase it if possible,
and then get away.    He was added to the gang of men already ironed.
Mr. Perry, before leaving the vessel, directed a portion of these men to be
released and sent below with the general body of coolies. Shortly afterwards
the crew began to murmur—possibly at this act of clemency—and said that if
the men who had risen, and endeavored to take their lives and set fire to the
vessel, were not punished, they would not go in the ship.
The general state of feeling, on all sides, on board, is far from satisfactory;
and this attempt on the part of the coolies to take the " Leonidas" has undoubtedly been the bloodiest and most disastrous of all the events during this emigration season, whether is considered the number of dead and missing, or the
wounds given and received.
True copy of testimony taken on board the before-mentioned ship, on the
26th of February, 1861, by Mr. J. S. Mackay, allied inspecting officer.
No. 4.
Mr. Strutt to Mr. Perry.
Macao Fort, February 25, 1861.
Sir : As you expressed a wish that I should send you in a statement of what
witnessed yesterday on board the American ship " Leonidas," I have the 32 ASIATIC  COOLIE  TRADE.
honor to enclose an account of what I myself saw on board after a fight had
taken place between the coolies on board that vessel and her crew.
I am, sir, your most obedient servant,
Lieutenant 3d Regiment B. N. I.
The American Consul, Canton.
Statement of Lieutenant Strutt, 3d regiment Bombay native infantry, commanding Macao fort.
About half-past ten o'clock on Sunday morning, the 24th instant, a sailor
came into my quarters and reported that the Chinese coolies on board the ship
" Leonidas," lying about three miles down the river, had broken out, and that a
mate had been killed and several of the crew wounded. He said that the captain's wife, who had been slightly wounded, and the first mate, had come in the
boat with him, and were at the time alongside the fort. On my learning from
him that the mate was very badly wounded, I gave orders to have him landed,
so that he might be looked after by my hospital assistant. He was brought into
the fort covered with blood, and which was flowing very freely at the time from
wounds on his head. The assistant and my servant at once commenced to dress
his wounds. Directly I heard of the rising I ordered six gunners of the R. A.
and twenty sepoys to get ready. On their being ready I was obliged to leave
Mr. Horton, the first mate, in the charge of the hospital assistant and my servant.
I, with Bombadier Renshaw and three gunners as a boat's crew, and four
sepoys, started about 11 o'clock, in the gig, leaving two gunners and the remainder of the sepoys to come on in the pinnace. I arrived at the ship about half-
past 12 o'clock, where I found the captain and his crew armed. The deck was
covered with broken plates and rice, and there was the dead body of a Chinaman
lying on the larboard side of the vessel, about midships. There were also twelve
men, nearly all of whom had wounds about the head, fastened to a bar on the
deck. The captain informed me that these men had jumped overboard when
they found the fight had gone against them, and that they had been retaken in
the river and in the fields. The hatches were all fastened down and covered
over with sails, which the captain told me he caused to be placed over them so
as to smother the fire which the coolies had lighted between decks. On the
captain asking me if he should open the hatches, I said yes; they were opened,
and we went below. I found the same state of confusion and signs of the recent
fight as I had seen on deck, for broken plates were lying in every direction.
There were also marks of fire where they had lighted bedding, &c, for the purpose of burning the vessel. Below the bars across one of the windows in the
stern some boards had been removed, which enabled the coolies to get through
and plunge into the river. The coolies were drawn up into line and counted,
and I believe 163 was the number found below, making, with the 12 prisoners
on deck, 175. We then went forward and took out 20 or so from the galley,
making the number up to 195. One of the coolie 3 taken from the galley was
wounded on one or both legs, a little above the ankle, and had a bad cut on the
head from a cutlass or some other weapon. He was taken out and laid on deck,
and appeared to be in a dying state. My large boat having come up with the
other men, I took out of her two gunners, a habildar, and seven rank and file,
and, everything appearing quiet, I left these men on board as a guard, and I,
with the remainder, started about 2 o'clock for the Macao fort.
I found that during my absence the hospital assistant, with my servant's help, ASIATIC   COOLIE   TRADE. 65
had dressed very properly the wounds of the first mate, who was doing as well
as could be expected. I forgot to mention that, whilst on board the vessel, I
was shown the third mate, whose head and face were frightfully cut albout. As
he appeared to be in a very bad state, I recommended the captain to send him
at once for medical treatment. The captain himself had a cut on the bridge of"
the nose, and the steward and a young lad had also received slight wounds on.
the head.
Lieutenant 3d Regiment Bombay Native Infantry ~
Macao Fort, February 25, 1861.
No. 5.
Mr. Perry to Mr. Howorth.
United States Consulate,
Canton, March 2, 1861.
Sir : I have to thank you for the promptness with which you, upon hearing
of the revolt of the Chinese emigrants on board the American ship "Leonidas,"
on Sunday morning last, whilst at anchor in the Macao passage, sent to her
assistance three armed boats, and ordered the gunboat " Weazel," under your
command, to immediately get up steam and proceed to the " Leonidas," and
finally tow her to an'anchorage near Canton, where further assistance, if needed,
could be immediately obtained.
I should be much obliged if you would present my compliments to Surgeon
Purcell, who accompanied you on board, and thank him for the medical services
he rendered to the captain and others, officers and crew, on board the " Leonidas,"
who were, some of them, very badly wounded.
I shall make it a point to bring to the notice of his excellency the American
minister the services rendered by yourself and Surgeon Purcell on the occasion
above referred to.
I have the honor, &c,
United States Consul.
Lieutenant Commanding Howorth,
Commanding her Britannic Majesty's gunboat " Weazel."
No. 6.
Mr. Perry to Mr. Strutt.
United States Consulate,
Canton, March 2, 1861.
Sir : I am in receipt of your communication of the 20th ultimo, enclosing an
interesting statement of what took place on board the American ship " Leonidas "
on Sunday last, for which I thank you. I have also to thank you for the very
prompt and efficient aid which you have rendered to the captain and officers of
that ship, and also for the kindness and attention which you rendered to the
I shall not fail to bring to the notice of his excellency the American minister
the services which you rendered on the occasion above referred to.
I have the honor to be, &c,
United States Consul.
Lieutenant J. R. Strutt,
3d Regiment Bengal Native Infantry, Commanding Macao Fort.
H. Ex. Doc. 16 3 34 ASIATIC   COOLIR  TRADE.
No. 7.
Mr. Howorth to Mr. Perry.
Her Majesty's Gunboat "Weazel,"
Canton, March 2, 1861.
Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of to-day's
date, thanking me for the services rendered by her Majesty's gunboat under my
I have complied with your request regarding Mr. Purcell.
I have the honor to remain, sir, your most obedient servant,
Lieutenant and Commander.
O. H. Perry,
United States Consul, Canton.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
No. 17.] Department of State,
Washington, June 10, 1861.
Sir : Commander C. K. Stribling, of the United States flag-ship " Hartford,"
who is now acting as charge d'affaires ad interim of the legation of the United
States in China, reports to this department, under date of the 26th of March
last, that on the 24th of the preceding month the coolie passengers on board of
the American ship " Leonidas," then at anchor near Canton, rose upon the crew
of that vessel, and that before the coolies were subdued the master and several
of the crew of the ship were badly wounded, and several of the coolies killed or
drowned in attempting to swim on shore. On that occasion the commanding
officer of the French frigate "Durance," Lieutenant Commanding William
Howorth, of the British gunboat " Weazel," Lieutenant J. R. Street, of the
third regiment of Bengal native infantry, commanding a fort on the river
near the ship, rendered the most prompt and efficient service in restoring order,
■and Doctor W. J. P. Purcell, an assistant surgeon in the British navy, volunteered his services, and was unremitting in his attention to the wounded, and
•continued to attend them afterw^ards at considerable personal inconvenience.
Commander Stribling also states that he expressed his thanks to Captain
Couprent Desbois, of the French navy, commanding the French forces at
Canton, to Admiral Jones, the senior British naval officer at Hong Kong, and
to Brigadier General Crawford, commanding the British forces at Canton, for
the valuable services rendered by the several officers above mentioned under
their command. But I have to request that you will take an early opportunity
to convey to the British government an expression of the President's high appreciation of the conduct of its officers who participated in quelling the insurrection referred to, and the sense entertained by this government of their praiseworthy
conduct on that occasion.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Secretary of State.
Charles Francis Adams, Esq., fye., fye., fyc.
Same, mutatis mutandis, to William L. Dayton, esq., (No. 14.) ASIATIC   COOLIE  TRADE. . 35
Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.
No. 10.] Legation of the United States,
London, June 28, 1861.
Sir : I have to acknowledge the reception of your despatches Nos. 15 to 17'
inclusive, the first two bearing date the 8th, and the last the 10th of June.
According to the instructions contained in the latest one, I immediately' addressed a letter to Lord John Russell, expressive of the sense entertained by the
President of the services rendered by British officers in China in quelling a
mutiny on board the ship Leonidas. A copy of the same is transmitted herewith.
* * * * * * * * *
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward,
Secretary of State,  Washington, D. C.
Mr. Adams to Lord John Russell.
Legation of the United States,
London, June 25, 1861.
The undersigned; envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the
United States, has the honor to inform Lord John Russell, her Majesty's principal secretary of state for foreign affairs, that on the 24th of February last the
coolie passengers on board the American ship " Leonidas," then at anchor near
Canton, rose upon the crew of that vessel, and that several of them were badly
wounded, and a number of the coolies killed or drowned, before order was*
On that occasion Lieutenant Commanding William Howorth, of her Majesty's*
gunboat "Weazel," and Lieutenant J. R. Street, of the third regiment of
Bengal native infantry, commanding a fort on the river near the ship, rendered
prompt and most efficient service in restoring order. Dr. W. J. P. Purcell, an
assistant surgeon in the British navy, also volunteered, and was unremitting in
his attentions to the wounded, and continued to attend them subsequently at
considerable personal inconvenience.
The President desires to express his high appreciation of the most acceptable
services of these officers, and has instructed the undersigned to convey to her
Majesty's government, and through them to Lieutenants Howorth and Street
and Dr. Purcell, his cordial and grateful thanks for their praiseworthy conduct
on that occasion.  *
The undersigned renews the assurance of his highest consideration.
Right Honorable Lord John Russell, 8fc., fyc., fye.
Lord John Russell to Mr. Adams.
Foreign Office, June 22, 1861.
Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 17th
instant, and I hasten to express to you the satisfaction with which her Majesty's 36 ASIATIC   COOLIE  TRADE.
government have learned that Captain Inglefield so promptly availed himself of
the opportunity offered him of assisting a vessel belonging to the United States,
and I have requested the lords commissioners of the admiralty to make known
to that gentleman the appreciation in which his services are held by the government of the United States.
I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your most obedient,
humble servant,
C. F. Adams, Esq., fye., fyc., fyc.
Mr. Trevitt to Mr. Seward.
No. 41.] Consulate of the United Statbs,
Callao, Republic of Peru, October 1, 1861.
gIR ********
I had occasion in my last annual report on trade, &c, to allude to the depressed condition of agriculture in this country, so highly favored by both climate and soil, and clearly designed to occupy a very high rank in this branch
of industry. With a climate possessing all the advantages of the torrid and the
temperate zones; with a soil, when water can be procured for the purposes of
irrigation, and in those parts which are sufficiently watered by timely rains,
equalling the most prolific in the world; with the most powerful fertilizing
agents known to man, prepared by nature to the hand of the husbandman,
sufficient for the consumption of the country for centuries, it would appear to
the casual observer that Peru should not only produce every article for the
consumption of her own population, from those to supply the wants of the most
humble to the luxuries for tastes the most refined, but also provide a large surplus for less favored regions.
So far, however, from this being the case, large quantities of the most common
native products are imported to supply the current demand of the people in
many parts of the country. One of the most prominent causes of this is the
want of some well-regulated, reliable system of labor.
The labor of the country was formerly performed chiefly by slaves. In
1855 African slavery was abolished, and upwards of twenty-five thousand
blacks were set free—turned loose upon society; thus not only suddenly depriving agriculture but every other branch of industry of its accustomed labor,
and at the same time afflicting the country with beggars, thieves, robbers, and
every variety of outlaw, until it became unsafe to occupy country residences
unless surrounded by an inconvenient train of faithful attendants, and dangerous
to walk in unfrequented streets or in the outskirts of the most populous cities
after nightfall. It is perhaps fortunate for the country, however, that this class
of population is fast disappearing: through their dissipation, licentiousness, and
crime, and the penalties attached, at no distant period the liberated negroes of
Peru will only be remembered for the crimes they have committed, and regretted
for the demoralizing influence their acts have produced upon society.
To compensate to some extent for this loss to the productive labor of the
country the government has, from time to time, granted special privileges to
individuals to introduce Asiatic laborers, bound to compulsory service for a term
of years for a nominal consideration, and, during its last session, Congress
enacted a law, a copy of which I have translated and hereto annexed, (marked
A,) making the trade in Asiatics free to vessels of all nations. Many have
already availed themselves of the provisions of this law. ASIATIC COOLIE  TRADE. 37
Planters, ship-owners, and adventurers, and all, have profited by the speculation under it, and the places vacated by the manumitted negroes are now being
occupied by this class of laborers. Intellectually superior, but physically inferior, the latter fall far short of making good the places of the former.
Their term of service is usually eight years. They are valued here at an
average of four hundred dollars each, which may be regarded as the selling
price, the master paying the coolie four dollars a month, sometimes more, and
usually furnishing him two suits of clothes a year—all in addition to the original
amount paid. A long sea voyage and change of climate proves fatal to many,
and leaves the survivors feeble; so that the period required for recuperation and
acclimation, together with the time appropriated to acquiring a competent knowledge of their mode of work, under all the embarrassments of speaking a foreign
language, may render unavailable nearly one-fourth of the time for which they
are bound to servitude.
If reliance is to be placed in the tables prepared for purposes of life assurance,
where the mean expected period of human life is placed at fourteen or fifteen
years, and if this calculation would hold good when applied to Asiatics bound
to eight years' servitude in a country and climate new to them, it would appear
from the above estimate of their original cost to their masters, including their
monthly pay and annual expenses, that there would be but little difference in
the cost of this kind of labor and the average of that of negro slaves in our
southern States, at current prices there, provided the Asiatic be in every respect
equal to the negro. This, however, is not believed to be the case. I have been
told by those practically familiar with both races as laborers that, where much
physical power is required, two average negroes are equal to three Asiatics. In
some kinds of work this rule will not hold good, and it is probable that in the
culture of cotton the latter may be equal to the former.
The master having no interest in the coolie beyond the period of his indentured vassalage, it is more than doubtful if he receive that care which individual
interest in the person of the slave secured under the former system of African
slavery. That slavery, here as elsewhere, proves the mildest where the master
sees it his interest to keep the slave in health and vigor by whatever may conduce to his health and comfort.
Males alone being imported, as their terms of service expire, if the industrial
interests of the country look to this system of labor, the coolie trade must necessarily continue as long as agricultural or other pursuits may require. The wants
of the country once supplied, fresh cargoes must be imported to supply the places
of those made vacant from death or otherwise. There being no natural increase,
the system, to be successful, must be perpetual.
As the master's responsibility for the care of the coolies ceases upon the expiration of his indentured apprenticeship, if worn out or unfit for labor from any
cause, he becomes at once a subject of public charity; so that if this trade be
carried to the extent of the demand for labor, a broad field will be opened for
the exercise of all the philanthropy of this and the coming age, to minister to
the wants of the large class of diseased, crippled, and superannuated, who will
be thrown paupers upon the country, with no provision for their maintenance.
I have the honor to remain, most respectfully, &c, your obedient servant,
U. S. Consul.
Hon. William H. Seward,
Secretary of State, Washington.   


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