American Diplomacy in the Orient/Chapter VIII

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American Diplomacy in the Orient by John W. Foster
Chapter VIII
Published in 1903

VIII

CHINESE IMMIGRATION AND EXCLUSION

THE reorganization of the Chinese govern men t, after the evacuation of the capital by the allies in 1860, gave evidence that the lesson so rudely taught by the for- eign armies was to be of profit to the empire. Hitherto what little attention had been bestowed upon foreign affairs was intrusted to the Colonial Board, the depart- ment which had to do with the intercourse of the tribu- tary nations, Korea, Annam, and other adjacent coun- tries. Yielding to the demand of the envoys of the allied powers, a board of foreign affairs was organized, termed the Tsung-li Yamen. With this department the diplomatic representatives, whose permanent resi- dence at Peking had been secured as the chief result of the war, were to hold direct intercourse, and with it their business was to be transacted.

The emperor, who had fled at the approach of the allied armies, having died soon after their withdrawal from the capital, was succeeded by his infant son, and upon the organization of the Tsung-li Yamen, Prince Rung, an uncle of the young ruler, was designated as its president. He was a man of intelligence and proved to be a wise statesman with liberal tendencies, who recognized the necessity of his country's maintaining intercourse with the outside nations. With him was


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associated Kweiliang, who had conducted the negotia- tions at Tientsin in 1858, where he had exhibited much skill and fitness for diplomatic duties. The third mem- ber of this board, as at first organized, was Wensiang, a Manchu mandarin, a man of marked ability, saga- cious and enlightened, who realized better than any other of its public men the real situation of the empire. For fifteen years, until his death in 1875, he was the controlling spirit in the Foreign Office, the foremost Chinese statesman of his day, and his country's most useful public servant. With these men the diplomatic representatives of the Western nations had to do, and they proved worthy compeers in urbanity, astuteness, and capacity for public affairs.

The American representative who was to enter upon this new field of diplomacy, and who was destined to a career greatly distinguished above his colleagues, re- ceived his appointment to the post through a chance turn in political affairs. Anson Burlingame, a member of Congress from Massachusetts, a man of accomplished manners and possessing considerable oratorical gifts, had come prominently into public notice during the exciting period preceding the Civil War in the United States. He was best known for his ready acceptance of the challenge to a duel sent him by Brooks, of South Carolina, because of his denunciation of the latter for his brutal assault upon Charles Sumner in the senate chamber. When President Lincoln came to allot the offices to his adherents, Mr. Burlingame was appointed minister to Austria. Reaching Paris on his way to his post at Vienna, he was detained by notice that the


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Austrian court was disinclined to receive him because he had in Congress expressed sympathy with the Hun- garian patriot Kossuth and with the rising Italian kingdom of Victor Emmanuel. In this dilemma the mission to China, which had remained vacant for some time, was offered him, and Mr. Burlingame reluctantly changed his journey from Vienna to Peking. ( He reached Canton in November, 1861. Before repairing to his post at Peking he spent several months at the treaty ports, familiarizing himself with the state of affairs and with American interests in those locali- ties, and he did not reach Peking till July, 1862. The British, French, and Russian ministers had been for some time installed in their legations, and the Tsung-li Yamen had already adapted itself to the changed situa- tion. Mr. Burlingame, by his attractive personality and genial manners, soon established pleasant relations with Prince Kung and Wensiang, and with his diplo- matic colleagues.

He entered upon his mission in full 'accord with the spirit of friendliness and forbearance which actuated his government towards China. Within a short time his frankness and enthusiasm had so won the confi- dence of his colleagues that he brought about an agree- ment between them to adopt what he termed " a policy of cooperation an effort to substitute fair diplomatic action in China for force " whereby on all questions of general interest the ministers would take joint ac- tion ; and while insisting upon the faithful observance of the treaties, they pledged themselves to respect the territorial integrity of China, to do what they properly


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could to support the imperial government against the rebels, and not to interfere with the government in internal affairs, except in cases of extreme necessity.

This friendly action of the American minister was highly appreciated by the Tsung-li Yamen. When soon afterwards the Confederate cruiser Alabama ap- peared in the China seas, where it had destroyed sev- eral American vessels, Mr. Burlingame requested the Chinese government to forbid her entrance into any of its ports or to allow its subjects to furnish any sup- plies, an edict was promptly issued commanding the authorities " to keep a careful and close oversight, and if the steamer Alabama, or any other vessel-of-war, scheming how it can injure American property, ap- proach the coasts of China, under their jurisdiction, they are to prevent all such vessels entering our ports." Such an order enforced by the governments of Europe would have saved the American commercial marine from destruction and shortened the Civil War. It was a striking evidence of the influence of the minister and of the friendship of the Chinese government.

During Mr. Burlingame's mission an interesting in- cident occurred which illustrates the liberal spirit which animated the imperial government at that time. Sen Ki-yu, a Chinese scholar and governor of a province, soon after the British treaty of 1842 had been forced upon the government, followed by that of 1844 with the United States, wrote a book in which he sought to show his educated countrymen that the people of the Western nations were not the barbarians they were thought to be. He could not read a word of any other


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language than his own, and obtained his information from the few foreigners he met at the open ports of Amoy and Fuchau. It contained a geographical and historical notice of the United States with a eulogy of some length upon Washington, the spirit of which may be gathered from the closing paragraph. " It appears from the above that Washington was a very remarkable man. In devising plans he was more daring than Chin Shing or Han Kwang ; in winning a country he was braver than Tsau Tsau or Lin Pi [Chinese heroes]. Wielding his four-foot falchion, he enlarged the fron- tiers myriads of miles, and yet he refused to usurp regal dignity, or even to transmit it to his posterity; but, on the contrary, first proposed the plan of electing men to office. Where in the world can be found a mode more equitable ? It is the same idea, in fact, that has been handed down to us from the three reigns of Yau, Shun, and Yu. In ruling the state he honored and fostered good usages, and did not exalt military merit, a principle totally unlike what is found in other kingdoms. I have seen his portrait. His mien and countenance are grand and impressive in the highest degree. Ah ! who is there that does not call him a hero?"

For writing this book Sen Ki-yu was removed from his office of governor, was degraded, and forced to remain in private life for sixteen years. Under the new regime he was in 1866 recalled to public life and made a member of the Tsung-li Yamen. The attention of Secretary Seward was called to his career and his eulogy on Washington, and as a fitting tribute of


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respect, he ordered a portrait of the first President to be painted, and it was presented on behalf of the gov- ernment of the United States by Mr. Burlingame in an appropriate address to Sen Ki-yu, in the presence of his colleagues and a distinguished company of Chinese statesmen and scholars.

Upon his appointment to the Tsung-li Yamen, he was likewise made the managing director of the Tung Wen Kwan, or Imperial College, which had been estab- lished for the education in European languages and learning of a select number of Chinese youths taken from the families of the nobility and higher officials. The presidency of this college had been conferred upon Dr. W. A. P. Martin, the American Chinese scholar, who was assisted by a corps of European professors. Another evidence, reported by Minister Burlingame, of the spirit of progress of the government and its accept- ance of American ideas, was the publication by the Chinese Foreign Office and distribution to the officials of the empire of a Chinese version of Wheaton's trea- tise on international law, translated by Dr. Martin.

During the term of Mr. Burlingame's mission no questions of serious difficulty arose between the United States and China, thanks to the intelligent policy of the Tsung-li Yamen and to the tact and friendly dispo- sition of the American minister. After a residence in Peking of six years, Mr. Burlingame decided to resign and return to the United States to reenter political life. 1

1 As to Burlingame's appointment as minister, see MSS. dispatches, Department of State, 1861, Austria. As to services in China, U. S.


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The Tsung-li Yamen had been advised of his inten- tion, and appointed a farewell interview at the foreign office. During an exchange of compliments, a sugges- tion was made by Wensiang that in passing through Europe on his return to the United States, Mr. Bur- lingame might be of great service in Paris and London by friendly representations on behalf of China. He at once expressed his willingness to render China this service, whereupon Wensiang, apparently half in ear- nest and half in compliment, asked, " Why will you not represent us officially ? " Mr. Burlingame reports that he " repulsed the suggestion playfully, and the con- versation passed to other topics." Out of this came his actual appointment as ambassador of China to the Western powers.

Dr. Martin, who was present as interpreter at the farewell interview, says that Mr. Burlingame on his return to his legation called upon Robert Hart, a Brit- ish subject at the head of the Chinese customs service and a confidential adviser of the Tsung-li Yamen, and told him of the suggestion which had been made to him. Hart, who owed much to Mr. Burlingame for his advancement in the Chinese service, undertook to make the suggestion a realization, and within a few days inquiry was made of Mr. Burlingame as to his willingness to accept such an appointment, and the im- perial edict soon followed. In tendering his resignation to Secretary Seward before accepting this appointment,

Dip. Cor. 1862-1868, China ; Williams's Letters, chap. x. ; Martin's Cathay, pt. ii. chap. ii. As to Sen Ki-yu, U. S. Dip. Cor. 1867, pt. i. pp. 453, 513 ; Speers's China, 421 ; Williams's Letters, 417.


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he stated that he did so " in the interests of my coun- \ try and civilization. ... I may be permitted to add that when the oldest nation in the world, containing one-third of the human race, seeks, for the first time, to come into relations with the West, and requests the youngest nation, through its representative, to act as the medium of such change, the mission is one not to be solicited or rejected." He further reported that before he accepted the appointment he consulted his diplomatic colleagues, who heartily approved of the ac- tion of the Chinese government, and pledged him their support in his new mission.

The emperor's edict issued in November, 1867, en- grossed on yellow silk and bearing the great seal of the empire, was in the following terse terms : " The Envoy Anson Burlingame manages affairs in a friendly and peaceful manner, and is fully acquainted with the gen- eral relations between this and other countries ; let him, therefore, now be sent to all the treaty powers as the high minister, empowered to attend to every question aris- ing between China and those countries. This from the Emperor." Mr. Burlingame was created an official of the first or highest rank in the Chinese government, and with him were associated two Chinese officials of the Tsung-li Yamen of the second rank. The British secretary of legation and a French official in the Chi- nese service were made secretaries of the mission, and there was added a numerous suite of translators, clerks, and attendants.

The embassy, which was commissioned to visit the eleven Western nations with which China had treaties,


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came first to the United States and reached Washing- ton in May, 1868. From its landing in San Francisco to its departure from New York for Europe, its recep- tion was of the most cordial character, constituting one continuous ovation. In London it was at first re- ceived with coolness, but Mr. Burlingame's enthusiastic temperament and persuasive address won the favor of the British government and people. At a luncheon given to the members of the mission in Windsor Cas- tle, after being received by the queen, Lord Stanley said : " It is true that a certain degree of opposition, originating in ignorance of the real object of the Chi- nese mission, coupled with a desire to adhere to the old traditional British coercive policy, met Mr. Burlingame on his arrival in England, but this has passed away. Mr. Burlingame, by his dignified course, and feeling the grandeur and importance of the high trust confided to his care, has conducted himself in such a manner as to completely disarm opposition and create a favorable impression not only for China, but for the United States."

The reception in Paris was not so hearty ; at Berlin an attentive hearing was accorded the mission ; and thence it proceeded to St. Petersburg. But at the Eussian capital Mr. Burlingame fell ill and within a few days succumbed to his disease, thus ending his brilliant career. That he was the life and soul of the mission is shown by the fact that upon his death it in great measure ceased its efforts and returned to Pe- king, where it was dissolved. Even the two associate Chinese envoys, whom Prince Kung in their instruc-


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tions declared were appointed in order to " give those high officials opportunity to acquire practice and expe- rience in diplomatic duties/' were on their return as- signed to internal positions and disappeared from public view.

The mission had its origin in the proposed revision the next year of the treaties of Tientsin of 1858. It had for its object the solicitation from the treaty powers of the abandonment of the policy of force ; of the treatment of China on an equality with other nations ; of forbearance and patience in allowing it to work out the system of reform and of international intercourse in its own time and way ; and it had in view the incor- poration of these ideas in the revised treaties which were in contemplation. It was a wise step on the part of the Chinese to choose for the head of this mission a representative of the United States, whose government had disavowed all territorial aims in China, and whose selection could awaken no jealousy or suspicion among the rival European powers.

The only substantial result of the mission was the treaty which it negotiated with the government of the United States, and the terms of that treaty may in some degree indicate the purposes and expectations of Prince Kung and his associates of the Tsung-li Yamen in its creation. This treaty was drafted by Secretary Seward, who, it has been shown, entertained the most exalted ideas as to the future possibilities of the United States in the Pacific Ocean. It stipulated the territorial in- tegrity of China by disavowing any right to interfere with its eminent domain or sovereign jurisdiction over


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its subjects and property ; it recognized the right of China to regulate its internal trade not affected by treaty ; provided for the appointment of consuls ; se- cured exemption from persecution or disability on ac- count of religion ; recognized the right of voluntary emigration ; pledged the privilege of residence and travel in either country on the basis of the most fa- vored nation ; granted the privilege of schools and colleges ; disavowed the intention to interfere in the domestic administration of China in respect to public improvements, but expressed the willingness of the United States to aid in such enterprises when requested by China.

The effect of the treaty of 1868 upon the future relations of the two countries will be considered later in this chapter, when it will be seen that its principal pro- visions were nullified by a revulsion of public sentiment in the United States. Hence it may be said that the Burlingame mission was substantially barren of results. At the time it was the subject of animated discussion, the foreign merchants resident in China being especially earnest in their opposition to it as a movement to de- ceive and mislead the Western powers, and claiming that the Chinese were at heart relentless opponents of all foreigners, and that it was folly to treat them as other nations. A later minister at Peking wrote : " Mr. Burlingame, with that wealth of generosity which characterized him, nourished in his imagination the more attractive qualities of the Chinese. There was so much that was exalted and honorable in his views, so much that touched the generous sentiments of the age,


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so much withal that was true and capable of demon- stration, that he aroused the enthusiasm of our people. . . . The last effects of Mr. Burlingame's glowing statements were then effaced [by the Tientsin riot of 1870], and an impression left that the Chinese enter- tained an unyielding, bitter hatred of foreigners."

However this may be, the fruitless effects of the mis- sion cannot be made to reflect upon Mr. Burlingame's ability or foresight. Indeed his success in the United States and at London and the sudden collapse of the mission upon his death bear testimony to his capacity and magnetic personality. James G. Elaine, who was a participant in the honors paid to him at Washington, says of him : " As an example of the influence of a single man attained over an alien race, whose civiliza- tion is widely different, whose religious belief is totally opposite, whose language he could not read nor write nor speak, Mr. Burlingame's career in China will always be regarded as an extraordinary event, not to be ac- counted for except by conceding to him a peculiar power of influencing those with whom he came in con- tact ; a power growing out of a mysterious gift, partly intellectual, partly spiritual, and largely physical." The imagination may well speculate upon what might have been the later history of China, if his life had been spared to conclude his mission and to return to Peking to exercise his unusual personal influence upon the im- perial court. 1

1 On Burlingame's appointment and mission, U. S. Dip. Cor. 1868, pt. i. pp. 493, 502, 601 ; 1870, pp. 317, 332 ; 1871, p. 166 ; Williarns's Letters, 370, 376, 382 ; Martin's Cathay, 374 ; Speers's China, 429 ;


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The Tientsin riot of 1870, resulting in the murder of nineteen foreigners, mostly French missionaries, and the destruction of the French consulate, the cathedral and the mission property, was one of the most violent outbursts of Chinese antipathy to foreigners in the last century. Although the American minister reported that the French consul and missionaries had been im- prudent in their conduct, he united with his diplomatic colleagues in a demand upon the authorities for the punishment of the guilty parties, and was active in bringing about a proper reparation and settlement. 1

From the first residence of the foreign ministers at Peking the empire had been ruled by a regency con- sisting of the two empress dowagers, but on February 23, 1873, the young emperor, having attained his ma- jority, personally assumed the control of the govern- ment, and a notice to this effect was sent by Prince Kung to the chiefs of the diplomatic corps. Since 1860 the foreign representatives on their arrival at the capi- tal had sent a copy of their credentials to the Tsung-li Yamen, but had retained the originals, the female re- gency holding no personal intercourse with them. Upon receipt of the notice of the emperor's assumption of the government, the ministers joined in a note requesting

Nevius's China, 438 ; Williams's Hist. China, 344 ; Douglas's China, 356 ; The Burlingame Mission, A Political Disclosure, etc., by J. M. Gumpach, 1872 ; Harper's Mag. Oct. 1868, p. 592 ; Westminster Rev. Jan. 1870. For Burlingame's views of mission, see speech in New York, Nevius's China, 451. For Burlingame treaty of 1868, U. S. Treaties, p. 179.

1 U. S. For. Rel., 1870 and 1871, China ; Williams's Hist. China, 347 ; Douglas's China, 360.


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an audience of his majesty to pay their respects and present to him their credentials.

Thus was raised again the question of audience, which had been so much discussed during the past two centuries and a half, whenever the representatives of the Western nations had sought to appear in the pre- sence of the ruler of the Middle Kingdom. The Tsung-li Yamen assumed the same position as that maintained by the court when the American minister, Mr. Ward, came to Peking in 1859, that it would be necessary for the foreign ministers to kneel at the au- dience. The discussion on this point continued through four weary months, with frequent conferences and many exchanges of notes and memoranda. The for- eign governments were firm in sustaining their repre- sentatives in the position that they would do nothing at the audience which would imply inferiority on the part of their countries, and that, as prostration or kneel- ing was an act of abasement, they could not permit their ministers to perform it. The Secretary of State in his instructions to Mr. Low, the American minister, stated that while questions of ceremony were not usually seriously considered in the United States, in the case of China it involved the official equality of nations and became a question, not of form merely, but of sub- stance, requiring grave consideration. He was directed " to proceed carefully and with due regard for the in- veterate prejudices and the grotesque conceit of the Chinese courtiers," but if he should fail to bring about a correct decision of the question, he was authorized to go to the extreme of suspending official intercourse.


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Happily, however, such a course did not become necessary, as Prince Kung and Wensiang were able eventually to bring the court and cabinet to accept the three bows which were usual in similar ceremonies at European courts as a sufficient mark of respect to the emperor. The audience was a noted event in Chi- nese history, as it marked another step towards con- formity to Western diplomatic intercourse. And yet it was not a complete abandonment of oriental methods. The audience did not take place in the great reception hall, but in the " pavilion of Purple Light," used for receiving the visits of the representatives of tributary states. The emperor did not stand, did not receive from the ministers their credentials, and did not speak to them in response to their addresses. He sat upon his throne, the credentials were laid upon a table in front of him, and he directed Prince Kung to make response in his name. So hard it was for this ancient people to break away from the custom of ages. 1

The vexed question, so imperfectly settled in 1873, would necessarily recur for discussion ; but as the young emperor, Tung Chih, died soon after that date, and another long regency occurred during the minority of the present emperor, Kwang Hsu, no other alidience was granted till 1891. Upon the latter attaining his majority, an imperial edict was published directing an audience for the diplomatic corps. This brought for- ward again for discussion the points unsettled in 1873, and for three months conferences of the members of

1 U. S. For. Rel. 1873, China ; Williams's Hist. China, 359 ; Douglas's China, 375.


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the corps and interviews and correspondence with the Tsung-li Yamen absorbed the attention of these two bodies.

The foreign representatives insisted, first, that the audience should not be held in the tribute hall ; second, that the letters from their sovereigns should be placed by them in the hands of the emperor ; third, that there should be a separate audience for each minister and his suite, in place of a reception of the diplomatic corps in a body, with one spokesman and one interpreter ; and fourth, that new ministers might present their letters on arrival, in place of waiting tih 1 the annual New Year's reception, as was contemplated in the edict. On the first two points the diplomats were only partially suc- cessful. It was determined that the first audience should be held in the " Pavilion of Purple Light," but in after years in a suitable hah 1 in the main palace. It was con- tended that, according to immemorial law, no person could present a paper to the emperor except upon his knees. It was therefore decided that Prince Ching, president of the Tsung-li Yamen, should descend from the platform upon which the emperor was seated, take the letter from the foreign minister at the foot of the steps, and lay it upon the table in front of the emperor, and then kneel to receive his majesty's reply. It may seem trivial to the reader that a considerable part of the time of the three months' deliberation was over the pre- cise stage of the ceremony when Prince Ching should kneel, The diplomats successfully contended that he could not make that obeisance until the letter of their sovereign or chief had left his hands, as until he placed


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that document on the table he was in a certain sense the agent of the foreign sovereign.

The American minister, Mr. Denby, who had been in Peking more than five years before he was able to present the letter of the President accrediting him, reported the audience of 1891 as a great triumph for Western diplomacy, and a long step in the direction of recognition of the absolute equality of nations. But it required the Japanese war of 1894 and the convul- sion growing out of the Boxer outrages of 1900 to bring the " Son of Heaven " down from his platform, have him receive into his own hands the autograph let- ters of presidents and monarchs, and talk face to face with their representatives. 1

Following the discussion of the audience question, another step was taken towards a more liberal policy. The American minister was informed that it had been determined to send a number of Chinese youths abroad to be educated at the public expense, and that they would be sent to the United States, if assurance could be had of a friendly reception, which was promptly given. The first detachment, consisting of thirty youths, was sent in 1872, and they were followed by thirty more in 1873. Homes were found for them in families in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and later others were sent, and a station was established at Hartford, under the direction of Yung Wing, a Chinese graduate of Yale College, which was maintained for a number of years, but it was finally abandoned and the young men

i U. S. For. Rel. 1891, pp. 355-385, 392, 455,456 ; 1892, p. 85 ; 1898, p. 223.


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recalled to China, upon the pretext of the reactionary party that their long residence abroad would weaken their devotion to their own country. The action in sending them to the United States demonstrated the liberal tendencies of the controlling spirit of the government and its friendly disposition to the United States. On their return to China, although a disposi- tion was shown to exclude them from public life, the value of their foreign education was so manifest that a number of them have been assigned to important posts under the government, and have rendered their country very useful service. 1

In 1875, Dr. S. Wells Williams, who began his dip- lomatic career in 1853 as secretary and interpreter to Commodore Perry in Japan, and who for twenty years had acted as secretary and often as charge of the Amer- ican legation in China, resigned his office and returned to the United States. For several years and until his death in 1884 he occupied the chair of Chinese Lan- guages and Literature at Yale University. Few Amer- ican officials in China have been enabled to render their country such useful services. His work on China, " The Middle Kingdom," remains to this day the stand- ard authority on that country. His Chinese Dictionary a work of much labor and research is the best evidence to his great learning in the Chinese language. Secretary Fish, in accepting his resignation, expressed in the highest terms the government's appreciation of his services. Minister Eeed, with whom he served

1 U. S. For. Rel. 1872, p. 130 ; 1873, pp. 140, 186 ; Williams's Hist. China, 387.


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under the most trying circumstances, wrote : " He is the most learned man in his varied information I have ever met. . . . He is the most habitually religious man I have ever seen." The American missionaries, by whom his life was best known, well said of him : " It is not often that the providence of God allots to any one man so long and so distinguished a term of service."

The special feature of the Burlingame treaty of 1868 with the United States was in its emigration stipulations. Although the ancient penal code of China visited ex- patriation of its subjects with severe penalties upon the resident relatives of offenders, and emigration was pro- hibited by law and was discouraged by the government, yet the overflowing Chinese population in and adjacent to the seaports having intercourse with foreigners had not been deterred from seeking to better their lot in foreign lands. For centuries the Chinese had resorted to the Philippine Islands, and even bitter persecution and slaughter had not prevented many thousands of them from maintaining their residence there. They had likewise gone in large numbers to Annam, Siam, Java, the Malay Peninsula, and the British Straits Set- tlements, where their industrious and abstemious habits had enabled them to supplant largely the less energetic inhabitants.

About the time of the acquisition of California by the United States and the discovery of gold there, a fresh incentive was given to Chinese emigration, and it assumed a new aspect. A large demand for labor arose in Peru, where efforts were being made to restore to cultivation the lands which had lain idle since the


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conquest, and also to work the mines. In Cuba the cultivation of sugar had become very profitable, and the stringent enforcement of the international treaties against the African slave trade had forced the planters to look elsewhere for laborers. Brazil and other coun- tries were likewise seeking for an increase of the labor- ing class. China with its superabundant population afforded the best field from which these countries could obtain their much needed supply.

This led to the establishment of what is known as the coolie trade the procurement from southern China of laborers, their transportation to Peru, Cuba, and other countries nominally under a contract of service for a term of years, but virtually constituting a system, of slavery with all its attendant hardships and horrors. The American consul at Hongkong, who was familiar with this traffic, reported to his government that it dif- fered from the African slave trade " in little else than the employment of fraud instead of force to make its victims captive." Secretary Seward, who visited China on his tour of the world about the time when it was at its height, described it as " an abomination scarcely less execrable than the African slave-trade." The head- quarters of this trade were established at the Portu- guese port of Macao, as it was not permitted from the Chinese ports nor the British colony of Hongkong. For some twenty years it constituted the main business of Macao, where the iniquitous traffic was carried on long after it had been outlawed by the leading mari- time nations of the world.

Many of the poorest classes of the Chinese, in the


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hope of bettering their condition, were induced to enter into contracts of service for a term of years under tempting conditions as to wages and thus became voluntary but deceived emigrants. As the demand in- creased and the supply of willing contract laborers became insufficient, Chinese in large numbers were kidnapped from their homes, native procurers or pimps being employed to do the needful work of the so- called contractors. They were confined in barracoons at Macao, and thence sent off in ship loads to their destined places of slavery. The transportation of these wretched creatures was attended with great privations, and in many instances with experiences of the most cruel and revolting character. The coolies often on the voyage, discovering that they had been seduced under false pretenses as to their destination or the character of service, mutinied, and, killing the officers and crew, returned to China; or, being overpowered, many of them w r ere killed and the rest kept as prison- ers. Suicides were frequent and deaths from ill treat- ment and disease were numerous. In one case the mutinous coolies set fire to the vessel, whereupon the captain and crew, battening down the hatches, took to the boats and left the six hundred Chinese to perish miserably. Other instances of nearly equal horror occurred.

When they reached their destination, in Peru and Cuba especially, they were sold to the planters at prices as high as from $400 to $1000 for each laborer, for the term of service fixed in the contract into which they had entered either voluntarily or by compulsion ;


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but at the end of the term, for alleged debt, crime, or other fictitious charge they were continued in ser- vice. During this period they were treated as slaves, branded, lashed, and tortured, and their condition was so wretched that many sought relief in death. It is estimated that more than one hundred thousand Chi- nese coolies were taken to Peru and about one hundred and fifty thousand to Cuba.

The inefficiency or indifference of the Chinese gov- ernment is shown in the fact that its subjects in such large numbers could be carried away from its dominions and so cruelly maltreated without any serious effort to put an end to the evil. The local authorities in a feeble way sought to repress kidnapping and the imposition practiced on the people, but to little pur- pose, as for many years the traffic flourished. Among the documents on the subject sent to Washington by Minister Parker, who was the most vigorous champion in the crusade against the traffic, there is found a proclamation issued by the gentry of Amoy, warning their countrymen against the kidnappers and the sedu- cers of the lower classes by false promises, and bemoan- ing the sad fate of those sold into slavery. " They might," it says, " implore Heaven, and their tears may wet the earth, but their complaints are uttered in vain. When carried to the barbarian regions, day and night they are impelled to labor, without intervals even for sleep. Death is their sole relief. . . . Alas ! those who living were denizens of the central flowery country, dead, their ghosts wander in strange lands. 0, azure Heaven above! in this way are destroyed our righteous people."


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Realizing the friendly attitude of Americans towards their country, the Chinese coolies in Peru sent to the American legation in Lima a curious and affecting petition, setting - forth their pitiable condition, and praying that through its government the emperor of China might be moved to intervene in their behalf. This petition was presented by the American minister at Peking to the Tsung-li Yamen, with the suggestion of a course which might be followed to secure relief without danger of foreign entanglements. He reports that the officials of the Yamen expressed their sym- pathy with their suffering countrymen, regretted that they should have been inveigled into such a miserable, cruel servitude, and hoped that the evils would soon be mitigated ; but he states that they had no vivid sense of their own responsibilities in the matter, did not respond to his suggestion of a remedy, and took no steps for the amelioration of the sad lot of the petition- ers and the scores of thousands of other Chinese sim- ilarly situated.

The explanation made by the American minister for this surprising indifference of the Peking officials was that their secluded position and prejudices of education and etiquette prevented them from learning the true state of the world and deterred them from any new step in foreign intercourse. Added to this was the fact that the interests of the great empire were not seriously affected by the exodus of a few hundred thou- sands from the swarming population of the southern provinces. During the negotiations which resulted in the treaty of 1858 one of the Chinese plenipotentiaries,


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in response to a suggestion that his government should send consuls abroad to look after the interests of the emperor's subjects settled in foreign lands, said : " When the emperor rules over so many millions, what does he care for the few waifs that have drifted away to a for- eign land ? " It was stated that some of those in the United States were growing rich from the gold mines, and that they might be worth looking after on that account. " The emperor's wealth," he replied, "is beyond computation; why should he care for those of his subjects who have left their home, or for the sands they have scooped together ? "

But in addition to the grievances of the coolies in Peru, a little later similar complaints of ill treatment of the Chinese in Cuba were brought to the attention of the Chinese government, and upon the advice of the American and British ministers a commission was sent to that island to inquire into their condition. The report of that commission, made in 1875, developed a state of affairs of the worst possible character. It showed that almost all the Chinese in Cuba had been kidnapped by force or inveigled by falsehood. They had been confined and treated like prisoners in the barracoons at Macao, intimidated or deceived into sign- ing unjust contracts, shipped like slaves, and cruelly treated on the voyage. Among the kidnapped were some persons of literary and official rank, who were held to unwilling labor. Many jumped overboard on the voyage, wild at the fraud practiced upon them, or crazed with the sufferings which they endured from overcrowding, filth, and insufficient food. One in ten


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died on the passage. Arrived in Cuba, their services were sold at high rates and great profits. They were kept at work much beyond the usual hours of labor, denied holidays, beaten, mutilated, and starved, and from these causes they died in large numbers. When the contracts expired, instead of being allowed their freedom, if they refused to renew their contracts, they were treated as vagrants and held as convicts until they reengaged themselves or were sold into service. At the end of the second contract, they were again sub- jected to the same treatment. And the various extor- tions practiced and the high rates of passports made escape from the island extremely difficult. j When this report was made public it so shocked the pnoral sense of the world that even the Spanish govern- ment, which was the last of the civilized nations to adhere to the system of slavery, was forced to enter into treaty stipulations with China, whereby a stop was put to the most iniquitous practices of the system of t contract service ; and the Portuguese government was forced to close the barracoons at Macao. Chinese con- suls were sent to Cuba, Peru, and other countries where Chinese coolies were found in considerable numbers, and they were afforded the opportunity of receiving and investigating their complaints.

The first legislation looking to the suppression of the Chinese coolie trade was passed by the British Par- liament in 1855, making it unlawful for British ships to engage in it, and giving full power to the colonial government at Hongkong, where the trade was first established, to take measures against it. This drove


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the headquarters of the business to Macao and trans- ferred the transportation service to other than British vessels. Although the American ministers in China exerted their influence against it, and Minister Parker issued a proclamation warning American vessels from engaging in the carrying of coolies, as the minister had no power to punish violations of his proclamation, it did not deter American vessels, and to their shame be it said, a number of them were for a time engaged in the transportation. But in 1862 Congress passed an act making it unlawful for American vessels to transport subjects of China or of any other oriental country, known as coolies, to any foreign port to be held to service or labor ; all citizens of the United States were prohibited from engaging in the trade or from building vessels to engage in it ; and American naval officers were empowered to search and seize American vessels offending against the law. It was likewise made the duty of American consuls to examine all emigrants on ships clearing for United States ports to ascertain whether they were departing voluntarily.

The effect of the law was to drive all American ves- j sels and citizens out of the iniquitous traffic and also to prevent the introduction of coolie labor into the United States. The intercourse of the Americans with the Chinese had created a friendly feeling on the part of the latter, and soon after the establishment of diplo- matic relations and the opening of the ports to trade, the attention of the Chinese was turned to the Pacific territory of the United States. With the oriental im- agery to which they were addicted they styled that


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country " The Beautiful Land " and the Union standard "The Flowery Flag." Before the enactment of the coolie legislation by Congress several thousands of Chi- nese had come to California, attracted by the discovery of gold and by the demand for labor at high rates of wages ; but under the American laws the system of enforced labor was not permitted and the coolie trade never extended to the United States. The cost of transportation of many of the Chinese laborers who came to California was advanced to them by firms or companies at Canton or Hongkong, and they signed contracts to refund the sums advanced out of their wages, but they were perfectly free as to their move- ments and service when they reached the United States. 1

Although the United States had prohibited its citi- zens and vessels from engaging in the coolie trade, it agreed to the insertion of a clause in the Burlingame treaty to give to its laws the solemn guarantee of an international compact, by which it was made a penal offense for a citizen of the United States or a Chinese subject to take the citizens or subjects of the other nation to any foreign country without their free and

1 For reports of American ministers as to coolie trade, H. Ex. Doc. 123, 33d Cong. 1st Sess. p. 78 ; S. Ex. Doc. 99. 34th Cong. 1st Sess. ; S. Ex. Doc. 22, 35th Cong. 2d Sess. 623, 632, 661, 670; S. Ex. Doc. 30, 36th Cong. 1st Sess. 59, 185, 424 ; For. Rel. 1871, pp. 114, 150, 210 ; 1873, pp. 205, 207 ; 1875, p. 293 ; 1878, p. 96 ; 19 Chinese Repository, 344, 510 ; Martin's Cathay, 31, 160 ; Seward's Travels Around the World, New York, 1873, p. 253 ; Harper's Mag. June, 1864 ; N. A. Rev. Jan. 1860, p. 143 ; Williams's Hist. 346 ; Williams's Letters, 414 ; Speers's China, 421. For laws of Congress, U. S. Rev. Stat. sees. 2158-2164 ; 18 St. at L. 477.


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voluntary consent. But the stipulations to which the greatest value were attached in the United States were those contained in Article V., which " cordially recog- nized" on the part of both governments "the inherent and inalienable right of man to change his home and allegiance, and also the mutual advantage of the free immigration and emigration of their citizens and sub- jects respectively from one country to the other for purposes of curiosity, of trade, or as permanent resi- dents ; " and in Article VI., in which it was provided that the citizens and subjects respectively " shall enjoy the same privileges, immunities, or exemptions in re- spect to travel or residence aSf may there be enjoyed by the citizens or subjects of the most favored nation."

At the time this treaty was being made several thou- sand Chinese laborers were engaged in the construction \ of the transcontinental or Pacific railroad. This stu- pendous enterprise, which was to bind the Atlantic and Pacific territories of the nation in an indissoluble union, and which had required the credit of the nation and the wealth of its capitalists for its consummation, was approaching completion, thanks to the patient toil of an army of Chinese laborers when others could not be obtained. This same sturdy and indefatigable race had been largely instrumental in the sudden and wonderful development of the Pacific States. It was felt that they were a valuable addition to the labor element of the country and were destined to have a still greater and still more favorable influence upon its develop- ment.

Hence the treaty containing the stipulations cited


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was heralded as a marked evidence of American influ- ence in the East, and the President, in communicating its negotiation to Congress, spoke of it as a " liberal and auspicious treaty." Some delay, however, occurred in its ratification by the Chinese government, and serious uneasiness was felt in the United States lest it should fail to be carried into effect. Under President Grant's direction, Secretary Fish instructed the American min- ister in Peking to exert his influence with the Chinese authorities to bring about its early ratification. He wrote : " Many considerations call for this besides those which may be deduced from what has gone before in this instruction. Every month brings thousands of Chi- nese immigrants to the Pacific coast. Already they have crossed the great mountains and are beginning to be found in the interior of the continent. By their assiduity, patience, and fidelity, and by their intelli- gence, they earn the good-will and confidence of those who employ them. We have good reason to think this thing will continue and increase ; " and the Secretary said it was welcomed by the country.

The treaty was finally ratified by China, and the government of the United States congratulated itself on being instrumental in bringing China out of her seclusion and inducing her " to march forward," as Secretary Fish expressed it. Ten years after this treaty was signed, President Hayes, in a message to Congress, thus spoke of its leading provision : " Unquestionably the adhesion of the government of China to these lib- eral principles of freedom in emigration, with which we were so familiar and with which we were so well satis-


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fied, was a great advance towards opening that empire to our civilization and religion, and gave promise in the future of greater and greater practical results in the diffusion throughout that great population of our arts and industries, our manufactures, our material improve- ments, and the sentiments of government and religion which seem to us so important to the welfare of man- kind." l

But within a few years after the treaty went into operation a change in public sentiment respecting it began to take place, especially on the Pacific coast, where the Chinese population was principally located. By their diligence and frugal habits they were able to successfully compete with the white laborers in the mining camps, in the fields, in the shops, as domestics, and in all common manual labor. The trades unions joined in sounding an alarm that the myriads of people from the crowded and half-starved homes of China were likely to come to the country in such numbers as to drive out entirely the white laborers. The Chinese in California and adjacent sections segregated them- selves from the other inhabitants, living together in cheap, ill-constructed, and uncleanly houses, took no part in local or public affairs, did not assimilate with the mass of the people, and observed their pagan or superstitious rites. It was argued that they were an undesirable population, and that if continued to be allowed free access to the country, they would in time endanger its institutions and change entirely its distinc- tive characteristics.

1 6 Presidents' Messages, 690 ; 7 Ib. 516 ; U. S. For. Rel. 1870, p. 307.


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The opposition to this emigration first manifested itself in individual acts of hostility, personal abuse of Chinamen, and injury to their property. To this suc- ceeded state laws restricting their rights and seeking to limit the immigration. But when tested in the courts this state legislation was declared to be in violation of the treaty or of the federal Constitution. The element opposed to the coming of the Chinese, which had now grown so strong in California as to dominate state politics, appealed to Congress for an abrogation or modification of the Burlingame treaty of 1868. This appeal was so effective as to procure the appointment, in 1876, of a joint committee of the two houses to visit the Pacific coast and to investigate the character, extent, and effect of Chinese immigration.

The committee, at the head of which was Senator Oliver P. Morton, of Indiana, one of the ablest and most influential members of Congress, held a number of sessions at San Francisco, examined a large number of witnesses, received a mass of documentary evidence, and made a thorough investigation. The report which the committee submitted to Congress at its next session constitutes, with the testimony, a volume of over twelve hundred pages. The chairman, Senator Morton, at- tended the sessions of the committee in San Francisco, but having fallen ill on his return journey to the East and died before Congress convened, the report was pre- sented by Senator Sargent, of California. As the ma- jority and minority reports of this committee set forth the arguments advanced during the discussion, in the United States through twenty-five years, of the much


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287


agitated question of Chinese immigration, it is well to give an epitome of them.

The report submitted for the committee by Senator Sargent stated that the investigation established the fact that so far as material prosperity was concerned, the Pacific coast had been a great gainer by Chinese immigration, and, if inquiry was not to be made into the present and future moral or political welfare of the Pacific States, it must be conceded that their general resources were being rapidly developed by Chinese labor. Opposition to any restriction on Chinese immi- gration was manifested by the capitalistic classes and those interested in transportation ; also by religious teachers, who found in the presence of the Chinese an opportunity of Christianizing them.

On the other hand, the laboring men and artisans were opposed to the influx of Chinese ; and the same view was entertained by many professional men, mer- chants, divines, and judges, who regarded the prosper- ity derived from the Chinese as deceptive and unwhole- some, ruinous to the laboring classes, promotive of caste, and dangerous to free institutions.

The committee reported the evidence as showing that the Chinese lived in filthy dwellings, upon poor food, crowded in narrow quarters, disregarding health and fire ordinances, and that their vices were corrupting the morals especially of the young. It also showed that the Chinese had reduced wages to starvation prices for white men and women, that the hardships bore with special severity upon women, and that the tendency was to degrade all white working people to the abject





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condition of a servile class. From this cause there had sprung up a bitterly hostile feeling to the Chinese, sometimes exhibited in laws and ordinances of doubtful propriety, in the abuse of individual Chinese, and in cases of mob violence.

The committee held that an indigestible mass in the community, distinct in language, pagan in religion, in- ferior in mental and moral qualities, was an undesir- able element in a republic, and especially so if political power should be placed in its hands ; that the safety of the state demanded that such power should not be so placed, and the safety of the immigrant depended upon that power.

It was painfully evident from the testimony that the Pacific coast must in time become either American or Mongolian ; that while conditions were favorable to the growth and occupancy of the Pacific States by Ameri- cans, the Chinese had advantages which would put them far in advance in the race for possession ; and that the presence of Chinese discouraged and retarded white immigration.

By the judges of the criminal courts it was shown that there was a great want of veracity among Chinese witnesses, and that they had little regard for the sanc- tity of an oath. It was shown that they were non- assimilative with the whites, had no social intercourse and did not intermarry with them, and in a residence of twenty-five years had made no progress in that di- rection. They did not bring their families with them ; all expected to return to China ; and prostitutes were imported and held as slaves. It was claimed that in


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point of morals they were far inferior to the European or Aryan race, and in brain capacity as well. It was admitted, however, that the Chinese merchants were honorable in their dealings.

It appeared from the evidence that they did not de- sire to become citizens nor to possess the ballot ; and that to give the latter to them would practically destroy republican institutions on the Pacific coast, as they would be controlled by their " head-men," who would sell their votes, and that they had no comprehension of any form of government but despotism. It was also stated that they had a quasi government among them- selves, independent of American laws, authorizing pun- ishment of offenders against Chinese customs, even to the taking of life.

The committee recommended that measures be adopted by the executive looking to a modification of the exist- ing treaty with China, confining it to strictly commer- cial purposes, and that Congress legislate to restrain the great influx of Asiatics. It was not believed that either of these measures would be looked upon with disfavor by China. But whether so or not, a duty was owing to the Pacific States, which were suffering under a ter- rible scourge, and were patiently waiting for relief from Congress.

Senator Morton, having died before reaching Wash- ington, was not a participant in the concluding confer- ences at which the report of the committee was com- pleted. From his strong personality, his great influence in Congress, and his powers of debate, it was fair to presume that, his life being spared, if he had not been


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able to control the report of the committee, he would at least have so restrained the legislation of Congress as to have prevented the radical action taken by that body. He had prepared material which he designed to have incorporated in the report of the joint committee. These papers were submitted to the Senate after his death as embodying his views, and constituted a mi- nority report.

He called attention to the " great and eternal doc- trines of the equality and natural rights of man," which were the foundation-stone of the political system of the United States. Believing " that God has given to all men the same rights, without regard to race or color," it became a cardinal principle of the government, " pro- claimed in the Declaration of Independence, in the Ar- ticles of Confederation, and recognized by our Consti- tution, that our country was open to immigrants from all parts of the world ; " and that this invitation could not and ought not to be limited or controlled by race or color, by the character of the civilization, nor by the religious faith of the immigrants.

He referred to the great objections which had been urged to the Chinese and Japanese their exclusive- ness, their refusal to permit the people of other nations to settle in or travel through their countries and acquire a knowledge of their institutions. Now when the doors of China and Japan were thrown open, and Americans had the right to live there, to do business, and had complete protection, it was proposed to take a step backward by the adoption of their cast-off policy of exclusion. The argument set up in favor of this was


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precisely what was so long used to excuse or justify the same policy in China and Japan, viz., that the admis- sion of foreigners tended to interfere with their trade and the labor of their people, and to corrupt their morals and degrade their religion. Our only absolute security, he said, consisted in devotion to the doctrines upon which the government was founded, and that the profound conviction that the rights of men are not con- ferred by constitutions, which may be altered or abol- ished, but are God-given to every human being.

The senator's conclusion from the investigations of the committee was that the difference of the Chinese in color, dress, manners, and religion had more to do with the hostility to them than their alleged vices or any actual injury to the white people of California. It was the resurrection of those odious race distinctions which brought upon the United States the late Civil War, and from which it fondly hoped that God in His provi- dence had delivered it forever.

The testimony showed, according to the senator, that the crops in California could not be harvested or taken to market without the aid of Chinese labor; that the railroads could not have been constructed without it ; that it was doubtful if it had injuriously interfered with the white people of that State ; that there was work for all ; that the Chinese, by their labor, opened up large avenues and demand for white labor ; that the first suc- cessful introduction of manufactures there was by the employment of Chinese labor, and as manufactories be- came established, the employment of Chinese gradually diminished, and white labor largely increased. The


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inquiry failed to show that there was any considerable number of white people in California out of employ- ment, except those who were willfully idle the hood- lums and ruffians, the most noisy in their outcry against the Chinese. That there had been many in- stances where Chinamen were employed in preference to whites because of their cheaper labor, was undoubt- edly true, but not to an extent that could furnish just cause of complaint, requiring legislation or political action for its redress.

The testimony, he asserted, showed that the intellec- tual capacity of the Chinese is fully equal to that of the whites. It also established the fact that Chinese labor in California was as free as any other, and that there was no form or semblance of slavery or serfdom among them. The most of the Chinese immigrants were young, unmarried men ; few families had come, and women were imported for immoral purposes. It was also true that they are peculiarly addicted to gambling, but probably not more so than the early white settlers of California when few had wives and families with them. This vice was greatly to be deplored, but it was not so peculiarly Chinese as to make it the basis of special legislation. They were not addicted to the use of intoxicating liquors, and kept no saloons. Their form of intemper- ance was in the use of opium ; but it did not produce violence, and the number who practiced it was smaller than the number of whites who visit saloons and be- come intoxicated.

The senator referred to the Burlingame treaty of 1868, and especially to its articles V., VI., and VII.,


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which provided for free emigration, residence, or travel, and the privileges of the educational institutions. When this treaty was concluded, he said, it was regarded by the whole nation as a grand triumph of American diplomacy and principles. It was especially a recog- nition by China of what might be called " the great American doctrine " of the inherent and inalienable right of man to change his home and his allegiance, a doctrine for the recognition of which by the govern- ments of Europe the United States had been struggling by negotiation ever since it had a national existence, and had succeeded with them one by one.

In conclusion the chairman of the committee con- tended that labor must needs be free, have complete protection, and be left open to competition. Labor did not require that a price be fixed by law, or that men who live cheaply, and can work for lower wages, shall, for that reason, be kept out of the country. 1

The report of the committee was submitted just be- fore the termination of the Forty-fourth Congress, in February 27, 1877 ; but the subject was brought before the next Congress, and after considerable discussion a bill was passed through both houses which so greatly restricted the immigration of Chinese into the United States that, in the language of the President, it fell " little short of its absolute exclusion," in direct viola- tion of the Burlingame treaty of 1868. But in addi- tion to this the bill provided for the abrogation of

i S. Report No. 689, 44th Cong. 2d Sess. ; Misc. Doc. No. 20, 46th Cong. 2d Sess. As to immigration and the Six Companies, Speers's China, chaps, xvi., xix., xx.


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Articles V. and VI. of the Burlingame treaty, relating to the free immigration and residence of Chinese in the United States.

This radical legislation indicated a great change in public opinion since the Burlingame treaty was pro- claimed with such gratification ten years before ; but this open disregard of international obligations shocked the moral sense of a large part of the American people, and led to such an expression of public sentiment as caused President Hayes to veto the bill, and it thus failed r to become a law. The President in his message on the subject, while he appealed to Congress to " maintain the public duty and the public honor," recognized that the working of the Burlingame treaty had demonstrated that some modification of it was necessary to secure the country " against a larger and more rapid infusion of this foreign race than our system of industry and soci- ety can take up and assimilate with ease and safety," and he expressed the opinion that, if the Chinese gov- ernment was approached in the proper spirit, the desired modification might be secured without the discredit to the nation which would result from the proposed legis- lation.

The President, in accordance with this policy, ap- pointed in 1880 a commission, consisting of Dr. James B. Angell, president of Michigan University, John T. Swift, of California, and W. H. Trescot, a former assist- ant secretary of state, to proceed to Peking and secure by negotiation a change in the provisions of the treaty of 1868 respecting the immigration of Chinese to the United States. This commission was received in a


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friendly spirit by the Chinese government, and within two months after its arrival at the capital a treaty on immigration was concluded and signed. By its pro- visions there was conferred upon the government of the United States, whenever in its opinion " the coming of Chinese laborers to the United States, or their residence therein, affects or threatens to affect the interests of that country, . . . power to regulate, limit, or suspend such coming or residence, but not absolutely to pro- hibit it." This power to limit immigration was only to apply to Chinese laborers, other classes of Chinese being permitted to enter freely and reside in the United States.

The Chinese government having in so gracious a spirit yielded to the desires of the American commis- sioners on the subject of immigration, the latter were very ready to gratify the former in the matter of the opium traffic, a subject of extreme anxiety and em- barrassment to the Chinese rulers. At their request a commercial treaty was signed, in which it was stipulated that "citizens of the United States shall not be per- mitted to import opium into any of the open ports of China, to transport it from one open port to another open port, or to buy and sell opium in any of the open ports of China ; " and this absolute prohibition was to be enforced by appropriate legislation. A similar pro- vision was inserted in the treaty of 1882 between the United States and Korea.

After the commercial treaty had been executed, Dr. Angell, the American minister at Peking and one of the commissioners, transmitted to the Secretary of State a


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communication received by him from Mr. W. N. Pe- thick, 1 an American citizen long resident in China, and then the private secretary of the Chinese grand secretary, Li Hung Chang, as indicative of the importance which the Chinese attached to the opium prohibition contained in that treaty. The letter is of much interest, for it re- views the history of the opium traffic and the Chinese view of it, and shows the high appreciation in imperial circles of the action of the American commissioners. He states that China has never consented to bear without murmur the great wrong of the opium traffic which was forced upon her ; neither has the government been in- different to the spread of the evil. Blood and treasure were spent freely in combating its introduction, and, though defeated in war, the government has not re- mained a silent or unfeeling witness of the blight extending over the country. He says that the single article of opium imported equals in value all other goods brought into China, and is greater than all the tea or all the silk (the two chief articles of export) sent out of the country, which show that the black stream of pollution which has so long flowed out of India into

1 Mr. Pethick, after serving in the Union army during the Civil War, at its close went to China, where he made himself master of its difficult language, was engaged for some time as interpreter in the United States legation and consulates, and for a number of years acted as the confiden- tial secretary of Li Hung Chang. His influence upon that statesman and upon Chinese politics was very decided, and always in the direction of liberal ideas and progress. He was a man of much erudition, and is said to have read in translation to Li several hundred English, French, and German books. He assisted the latter in his peace negotiations of 1901, and died at the close of that year, greatly respected in both Chinese and foreign society.


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China has been increasing in volume and spreading its baneful influence wider and wider. Americans have been engaged in the trade in common with other for- eigners ; but the United States, by a bold and noble declaration against opium, now stands in the right be- fore the world and the God of nations. It has, he writes, encouraged long deferred hope, confirmed oft- defeated determination ; it has nerved the arm of the government with new strength, and we shall see China once again grappling with the monster that is stealing away the prosperity and energies of her people.

But these hopes proved entirely illusory. Prince Kung again urged the British government to stop the importation of opium, upon the stipulation that its cul- tivation in China would be prohibited, but the proposi- tion was not entertained. An association was organized in England to create a public sentiment in favor of the suppression of the trade ; and Li Hung Chang, in an interview with the American minister, Mr. Young, in 1882, spoke hopefully of its influence on the British government, and gave him for transmittal to his gov- ernment a copy of a letter which he had written to the Anti-Opium Association, which presents the Chinese view of the question with much force.

The following extract will indicate the spirit of the letter : " Opium is a subject in the discussion of which England and China can never meet on common ground. China views the whole question from a moral stand- point, England from a fiscal. England would sustain a source of revenue in India, while China contends for the lives and prosperity of her people. . . . The


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present import duty on opium was established not from choice, but because China submitted to the adverse de- cision of arms. The war must be considered as China's standing protest against legalizing such a revenue. . . . The new treaty with the United States containing the prohibitory clause against opium encourages the belief that the broad principles of justice and feelings of humanity will prevail in future relations between China and the Western nations."

But the action of Dr. Angell and his colleagues in inserting the opium prohibition in that treaty came too late. The success which had attended the efforts of the Japanese, a kindred race, shows that prohibition can be made effective, but the evil had then become too deeply rooted in China, and the revenue derived by India from the trade was too important to be sur- rendered.

It is gratifying to record that the government of the United States from the beginning has sought to dis- countenance the traffic. In the first treaty with China, that of 1844, it was provided that "citizens of the United States . . . who shall trade in opium or any other contraband article of merchandise, shall be sub- ject to be dealt with by the Chinese government with- out being entitled to any countenance or protection from that of the United States." When Mr. Reed was sent out to negotiate the treaty of 1858, he was instructed to say to the Chinese government that its effort " to prevent the importation and consumption of opium was a praiseworthy measure," and " that the United States would not seek for its citizens the legal


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establishment of the opium trade, nor would it uphold them in any attempt to violate the laws of China by the introduction of that article into the country." Dr. Martin, who acted as interpreter on the occasion, states that in the first draft of the treaty submitted by Mr. Reed to the Chinese there was an article denouncing and forbidding the opium trade, but that he was induced by Lord Elgin, the British plenipotentiary, to withdraw it, greatly to the surprise of the Chinese negotiators. There is much to be said in commendation of the British government in its relations with the Orient, but its connection with the opium traffic of China has left a dark and ineffaceable stain upon its record. In this matter the greed of the East India Company and its successor, the government of India, triumphed over the moral sentiment of the nation, which has done so much for the amelioration of the condition of mankind. 1

In execution of the treaty of immigration of 1880, the Congress of the United States passed an act in 1882 prohibiting or suspending the coming of Chinese laborers into the country for a period of twenty years. This second attempt of Congress to legislate respecting Chinese immigration was met by a veto from President Arthur, on the ground that a prohibition of immigra- tion for so long a time as twenty years was not war- ranted by the spirit of the treaty and was in violation of the assurances given by the commission which nego- tiated it that the large powers conferred on Congress "would be exercised by our government with a wise

1 U. S. Treaties, 184 ; U. S. For. Rel. 1881, p. 216 ; 1883, pp. 123, 128 ; S. Ex. Doc. 30, 36th Cong. 1st Sess. p. 8 ; Martin's Cathay, 184.


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discretion, in a spirit of reciprocal and sincere friend- ship, and with entire justice." The President, in call- ing the attention of Congress to these assurances and to the concession made by China granting the power to fix limitations upon the coming of Chinese laborers, said : " China may therefore fairly have a right to ex- pect that in enforcing them we will take good care not to overstep the grant and take more than has been conceded to us." Congress gave heed to the appeal of the President, and modified the proposed legisla- tion by limiting the suspension of the immigration of Chinese laborers to ten years.

The treaty of 1880 contained a stipulation that the Chinese laborers in the United States at the time of its signature should be permitted to leave the country and return " of their own free will and accord." Before the ten years period of prohibition of immigration had expired a demand was made upon Congress for the enactment of more stringent legislation, based upon the allegation that fraud was being practiced in the exercise of the privilege granted by the treaty of the departure and return of laborers. It was charged that Chinese, after having resided in the United States for several years and acquired a competency, returned to China where they remained, and that other Chinese falsely assumed their personality and thus unlawfully secured admittance into the United States.

To remedy this defect a new treaty was negotiated between the Secretary of State and the Chinese minis- ter in Washington in 1888, whereby the privilege of the departure and return of Chinese laborers lawfully


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in the United States was restricted to those who had property to the value of $1000, or a wife or children in the country, and the government of the United States was authorized to adopt suitable regulations to prevent fraud. Provision was also made in the treaty for an indemnity to be paid the Chinese government to compensate for the loss of life and property of Chinese laborers occasioned by riots at Eock Springs in Wyom- ing, Tacoma in the State of Washington, and at other places, growing out of the antipathy and opposition to Chinese.

The treaty was ratified by the Senate of the United States with certain amendments, and the Chinese gov- ernment likewise proposed amendments. While these negotiations were taking place a presidential electoral campaign was in progress, the labor unions of the Pacific States were especially clamorous for the adop- tion of further restrictions on Chinese immigration, and the votes of those States seemed likely to be cast in favor of the presidential candidate whose party was most radical in its opposition to the Chinese. Under the spur of the exigencies of the campaign and the uncertainty of the ratification of the new treaty by the Chinese government, a law was hastily passed through Congress absolutely prohibiting the admittance of Chi- nese laborers into the United States. Although this legislation, known as the Scott Act, was in direct viola- tion of treaty, President Cleveland allowed it to become a law, justifying his action by the failure of China to ratify the new treaty ; but he recommended that the indemnity provided for in the treaty on account of the


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riots be paid to China, and the sum of $276,619 was accordingly appropriated by Congress for that pur- pose.

The President was, however, unwilling to allow the stain of treaty violation to rest upon the honor of the United States, and the Secretary of State entered anew into negotiations with the Chinese minister in Wash- ington, which resulted in the signature of a treaty in 1894 similar in most respects to the unratified treaty of 1888, and which was accepted by both governments.

The treaty of 1894 stipulated for the prohibition by the United States of the admission of Chinese laborers for the term of ten years. In anticipation of the expiration of that term the Fifty-seventh Congress took up the subject of the reenactment of the existing legislation, which would come to an end by limita- tion. The sentiment against Chinese immigration had strengthened with the lapse of time, under the increas- ing political influence of labor organizations, and bills of like character which added still further restrictions to those in the existing laws were reported by the respective committees in the two houses. The prohi- bition of the immigration of Chinese laborers was made perpetual ; those lawfully in the United States were not to be permitted to pass to or from the insular pos- sessions and the mainland territory; conditions were added to the admission of merchants, scholars, teachers, and travelers which amounted almost to a prohibition ; limitations were placed upon the transit of Chinese laborers through the territory of the United States en route to other countries; and other provisions were


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proposed which it was asserted were in conflict with the treaties with China. It was claimed that these additional measures were made necessary by the frauds practiced by the Chinese laborers in their great desire to gain admittance to the United States.

The bill from the committee passed the House of Eepresentatives without much opposition, but the sub- ject caused an animated debate in the Senate. Senator Lodge, who was one of the ablest supporters of the bill, at the close of a lengthy speech on the subject, based his opposition to immigration of the Chinese upon two grounds. He said : " The first reason is that they are members not of a new malleable people who can come here and adopt our methods and imbibe our ideas. They are members of an old and immutable civilization. They never can form a part of a body of American citizenship. They do not wish to do so. They would not do so if they could. They have come here simply for profit. A great race that means to do that and nothing else in the United States is better outside the line than inside. And, second, I am in favor of Chinese exclusion because the Chinese can create economic conditions in which we cannot survive. It is not a question of the fittest surviving, but a ques- tion of the survival of the fittest to survive. The best do not necessarily survive, and here we have a people 450,000,000 strong, who can produce an environment and a standard under which we cannot live."

The senators who opposed the passage of the bill conceded that the further coming of Chinese laborers to the United States should be prohibited; but they


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contended that those in the country should not be treated unjustly or harshly; that the census reports showed that the Chinese population in the country was decreasing, and hence there was no occasion to enact more restrictive measures; and, above all, that there should be no legislation which would look towards a disregard of treaty stipulations. It was also urged that it was bad policy to adopt measures which would offend the Chinese people at a time when earnest efforts were being made to increase commercial relations with that country.

The result of. the debate was the defeat of the bill embodying the stringent provisions proposed by the committee, and the adoption of a substitute offered by Senator Platt, of Connecticut, which continued in force the existing laws and regulations, not inconsistent with the treaty, until 1904, or until a new treaty should be made. 1 It was a distinct defeat of the anti-Chinese extremists and a clear indication that the sober public

i 7 Presidents' Messages, 514 ; 8 Ib. 113, 634 ; U. S. For. Rel. 1881, China ; Ib. 1888, China ; Ib. 1894, China ; U. S. Treaties, 182 ; U. S. Treaties in Force (ed. 1899), 122 ; Chinese Immigration, by S. Wells Williams, New York, 1877 ; 2 Elaine's Twenty Years in Congress, 651. For debate in Senate, 1902, Cong. Record, 57th Cong. 1st Sess. pp. 3880- 4509, 5050, 5051. For laws of Congress as to Chinese immigration, 22 Stat. at Large, 58 ; 23 Ib. 115 ; 25 Ib. 476, 504 ; 27 Ib. 25 ; 28 Ib. 7 ; and Act of April 29, 1902. For comments on legislation, N. A. Rev. July, 1893, p. 52 ; Hon. Charles Denby in Forum, July-Sept. 1902 ; Report on Certain Economic Questions in the Orient, by Prof. J. W. Jenks, War Department, Washington, 1902, Chinese Immigration in Colonies, chap, iii., Chinese Immigration to the Philippines, 157. The Acts of Congress respecting immigration have been frequently considered by the U. S. Supreme Court. The leading case is Fong Yue Ting et al. v. United States, 149 U. S. Reports, 689.


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opinion of the country favored a faithful adherence to treaty obligations.

From the foregoing narrative it is seen that a radical change in public opinion respecting Chinese immigra- tion has taken place in the United States since the Burlingame treaty was proclaimed with so much pride and satisfaction in 1868. Even the lofty and noble sentiments embodied in the minority report of Senator Morton in 1877 have given place to a more perfect realization of the economic conditions as shown by ex- perience. While the principle of expatriation is still adhered to and insisted upon by the government of the United States, it holds that citizenship is a privilege to be conferred and not a right which can be claimed by every foreigner who enters the country. It maintains, further, the right to exclude from its territory any class of people whose coming it may judge to be harmful or undesirable. A majority of the people of the United States have reached the conviction that it is not wise to allow the free and unrestricted immigration of people of the Asiatic races, and that it is especially desirable to exclude Chinese laborers from its territory.

On the other hand, it has been seen that the gov- ernment of the United States is unwilling to allow the reproach to attach to it of a disregard of treaty obliga- tions. When in time of political excitement the popular branch of the government has temporarily yielded to public clamor, the executive head of the government has not failed to interpose, and in every instance Con- gress has listened to the voice of reason and the appeal to national honor, and has corrected its legislation to


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meet the views of the executive department, which con- ducts the foreign intercourse.

It has also been seen that the government of China has in this matter shown a commendable spirit of friend- liness and concession. It allowed the Burlingame treaty to be framed to suit the views of the United States. When it became apparent that a change in public sen- timent in the latter country had taken place, it acqui- esced in the request for a radical modification of that treaty which materially restricted the privileges of its own subjects. And a second time, when it was ap- proached for another treaty change, it consented to limit still further the treaty rights of its people. The outrages which they have at times suffered by mob violence or at the hands of overzealous officials are not attributed to the ill-will of the government of the United States, neither has the harsh legislation, much as it is regretted, been allowed to change the friendly relations of the two nations. Each recognizes the difficulties of internal administration, and does not require of the other impossible conditions. Media:Example.ogg