REPORT OF THE JOINT SPECIAL COMMITTEE
INVESTIGATE CHINESE IMMIGRATION.
FEBRUARY 27, 1877.
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.
This massive 1281 page United States Senate report includes
testimony that reflects the attitudes and prejudices typical of the 19th century.
Chinese Workers on the Central Pacific Railroad
THE CHINESE IMMIGRATION REPORT, and
1876 Congressional testimony of:
CHARLES CROCKER, and
JAMES H. STROBRIDGE
REPORT OF THE JOINT SPECIAL COMMITTEE
TO INVESTIGATE CHINESE IMMIGRATION.
Mr. SARGENT, from the Joint Special Committee to Investigate Chinese
Immigration, submitted the following
R E P O R T :
The joint special committee of the Senate and House of Representatives appointed to investigate the character, extent, and effect of Chinese immigration, report as follows:
On the 6th day of July, 1876, the Senate passed the following resolution:
Resolved, That a committee of three Senators be appointed to investigate the character, extent, and effect of Chinese immigration to this country, with power to visit the Pacific coast for that purpose and to send for persons and papers, and to report at the next session of Congress.
On the 17th day of July, 1876, the House of Representatives passed the following resolution:
Whereas the Senate has passed a resolution authorizing the appointment of a committee of three Senators to visit the Pacific coast and report to Congress at its next session upon the character, extent, and effect of Chinese immigration in to this country:
Resolved, That the Speaker is hereby authorized to appoint three members of this house to proceed to the Pacific coast after the adjournment of Congress, to investigate conjointly with said Senate committee, or otherwise, the extent and effect of Chinese immigration into this country, with power to send for persons and papers, to administer oaths, to employ a stenographer, and to take evidence; said committee to report to Congress at its next session.
Subsequently, at the same session, by concurrent resolution, the said special committee of the two houses were authorized to act as a joint special committee for the purposes aforesaid, and with the powers conferred by the resolutions appointing them.
In conducting the investigation required by the resolutions the joint committee visited the Pacific coast and examined one hundred and thirty witnesses. The testimony so taken covers over twelve hundred pages of printed matter, and embraces the views of all classes of the community and every variety of interest. The committee found a great diversity of opinion, resulting from different standpoints of the witnesses who were examined.
In conducting this examination the committee divided their work so as to first hear persons opposed to the unlimited introduction of Chinese, and to this branch of the subject a limited time was given. They then heard the testimony of persons favorable to such introduction, and concluded by affording time for witnesses in rebuttal. Although the subject by this means was pretty fully covered, and the inquiry, perhaps, exhausted, the conclusions to be drawn from the mass of testimony may be different to different minds. In the opinion of the committee it may be said that the resources of California and the Pacific coast have been more rapidly developed with the cheap and docile labor of Chinese than they would have been without this element. So far as material prosperity is concerned, it cannot be doubted that the Pacific coast, has been a great gainer.
This is true, at any rate, of the capitalist classes. If the inquiry should stop there; if it should be satisfied by the certainty that money is made out of the present condition of things, and not look to the present or future moral or political welfare of our Pacific States, it must be conceded, at least, that many enterprising men find their profit in Chinese immigration, and the general resources of the Pacific are being rapidly developed by means of Chinese labor. Among others who testified were those who largely employ Chinese, or are interested in their transportation, and who find a profit therein. These testified that the results of Chinese immigration had been invariably beneficial in enhancing the material prosperity of the coast, but some were not entirely clear that there were not social and moral evils springing from this immigration, which in the future would counterbalance the advantages gained by the present rapid production of wealth.
Opposition to any move restricting the immigration of Chinese was also developed among religious teachers, who testified before the committee that the presence of Chinese among us imposes a duty and gives an opportunity of Christianizing them. On the other hand the committee found that laboring men and artisans, perhaps without exception, were opposed to the influx of Chinese, on the ground that hard experience had shown that they are thereby thrown out of employment, and the means of decent livelihood are more difficult of acquisition. But the opposition to Chinese immigration was not confined to laboringmen and mechanics. In the testimony will be found that of lawyers, doctors, merchants, divines, judges, and others, in large numbers, speaking of their own observation and belief, that the apparent prosperity derived from the presence of Chinese is deceptive and unwholesome, ruinous to our laboring classes, promotive of caste, and dangerous to free institutions.
In the progress of their investigation the committee called before them the municipal authorities of San Francisco, including the executive, legislative, health, and police departments, to ascertain the numbers, habits, and modes of life of the Chinese in San Francisco. The number of adult Chinese residents in that city averages at present during a year about thirty-five thousand. The testimony shows that the Chinese live in filthy dwellings, upon poor food, crowded together in narrow quarters, disregarding health and fire ordinances, and that their vices are corrupting to the morals of the city, especially of the young.
Among the testimony will be found that of some twenty operatives numbering nearly as many trades, in which details are given in relation, to different industrial pursuits which are either monopolized by the Chinese or are fast becoming so. This evidence shows that the Chinese have reduced wages to what would be starvation prices for white men and women, and engrossed so much of the labor in the various callings that there is a lack of employment for whites; and young men are growing up in idleness, while young women, willing to work, are compelled to resort to doubtful means of support. The hardships resulting from these causes bear with especial weight upon women.
It is also shown that this distinctive competition in some branches of labor operates as a continual menace, and inspires fears that the establishment of these ruinously low rates will extend to all employments and degrade all white working-people to the abject condition of a servant class. From this cause, among others, has sprung up a bitterly hostile feeling toward the Chinese, which has exhibited itself sometimes in laws and ordinances of very doubtful propriety and in the abuse of individual Chinamen and sporadic cases of mob violence. The influence of the better class of society is thrown against all violence toward the Chinese, although those exercising that influence may be convinced that the presence of the Chinese in California is undesirable. As long as there is a reasonable hope that Congress will apply a remedy for what is considered a great and growing evil, violent measures against the Chinese can be restrained.
As the safety of republican institutions requires that the exercise of the franchise shall be only by those who have a love and appreciation for our institutions, and this rule excludes the great mass of the Chinese from the ballot as a necessary means to public safety, yet the application of the rule deprives them of the only adequate protection which can exist in a republic for the security of any distinctive large class of persons. An indigestible mass in the community, distinct in language, pagan in religion, inferior in mental and moral qualities, and all peculiarities, is an undesirable element in a republic, but becomes especially so if political power is placed in its hands.
The safety of the State demands that such power shall not be so placed. The safety of the class, however, seems to depend in a measure upon that power. There are, therefore, springing from this subject antagonistic considerations, the only way to reconcile which would seem to be that the laws should discourage the large influx of any class of population to whom the ballot cannot safely be confided.
To any one reading the testimony which we lay before the two houses it will become painfully evident that the Pacific coast must in time become either American or Mongolian. There is a vast hive from which Chinese immigrants may swarm, and circumstances may send them in enormous numbers to this country. These two forces, Mongolian and American, are already in active opposition. They do not amalgamate, and all conditions are opposed to any assimilation. The American race is progressive and in favor of a responsible representative government. The Mongolian race seems to have no desire for progress, and to have no conception of representative and free institutions. While conditions should be favorable to the growth and occupancy of our Pacific possessions by our own people, the Chinese have advantages which will put them far in advance in this race for possession. They can subsist where the American would starve. They can work for wages which will not furnish the barest necessities of life to an American. They make their way in California as they have in the islands of the sea, not by superior force or virtue, or even industry, although they are, as a rule, industrious, but by revolting characteristics, and by dispensing with what have become necessities in modern civilization. To compete with them and excel them the American must come down to their level, or below them; must work so cheaply that the Chinese cannot compete with him, for in the contest for subsistence he that can subsist upon the least will last the longest.
It must not be understood that these views are unchallenged by a considerable and respectable class in California. Many persons of intelligence consider that this very cheapness of labor of the Chinese and the extreme docility of his habits is a strong consideration in his favor. More money can be made by employing him than can be by the employment of white men and women with the payment of adequate wages.
Admitting this, yet it would seem that an unlimited influx of Chinese might be a great future evil; that the population of the Pacific coast by a people of cognate language, religious, habits, and traditions would be better than its population by Asiatics; that its people should be like those of Iowa or Illinois rather than like those of Peking and Canton. When considerations relating to the future health of the body politic were called to the attention of witnesses, scarcely any dissented from the idea that great numbers of a people of the average mental capacity of the Chinese, having no inclination to adopt this country as their permanent home, who come and return as pagans, having a total disregard for our Government and laws, and the servile disposition inherited from ages of benumbing despotism, were undesirable.
By the judges of the criminal courts of San Francisco it was shown that there is a great want of veracity among Chinese witnesses, who have little regard for the sanctity of an oath, and hence convictions are very difficult for offenses committed against each other, or against the public at large. The testimony seemed to be concurrent that the Chinese are non-assimilative with the whites; that they have made no progress, during the quarter of a century in which they have been resident on the Pacific coast, in assimilation with our people; that they still retain their peculiar costume and follow their original national habits in food and mode of life; that they have no social intercourse with the white population; that they work for wages which will not support white men and especially white families; that they have no families of their own in this country, or very few of them, and that by the small amount and poor quality of food which they consume, and their crowding together in close quarters, reducing individual expenses of rent, their having no families to support or educate, they are able to compete with white labor in all departments and exclude it from employment.
Testimony was further taken upon the question of any radical differences existing between the Asiatic and Caucasian races, and in the evidence will be found much valuable information upon this point peculiarly interesting to the ethnologist. The deduction from the testimony taken by the committee on this point would seem to be that there is not sufficient brain capacity in the Chinese race to furnish motive power for self-government. Upon the point of morals, there is no Aryan or European race which is not far superior to the Chinese as a class. Full and interesting details of Chinese morals and habits in their own country will be found in the testimony, fully warranting this assertion. That testimony comes from intelligent travelers, ship-captains, merchants, and others, and some of it is too revolting for miscellaneous reading. But it was proved satisfactorily that the Chinese merchants in San Francisco are honorable in their dealings with other merchants. The only testimony affecting the integrity of this comparatively small class was, that they evade, to a considerable extent, the United States revenue-laws.
There is no intermarriage between the Asiatics and the Caucasian race.
The presence of the Chinese discourages and retards white immigration to the Pacific States. This clearly appeared in evidence, and probably arises from their monopoly of farm and mechanical work through the low price of their labor, making subsistence difficult to procure by the poorer class of emigrants.
There was some conflict of testimony upon the question as to what is public opinion on the Pacific coast as to the desirability of the influx of Chinese; but it is fairly inferable from the evidence that, without very considerable exceptions, public opinion there is that Chinese immigration is exceedingly pernicious; that the presence of that element, perpetually alien in feeling and ideas is a great disadvantage to the community.
This opinion is shared by some of the religious teachers in California, and very interesting testimony of the deleterious effects of Chinese immigration upon the morals of the Pacific coast will be found given by some of these persons. It is very clearly in evidence that the number of the Chinese on the Pacific coast is rapidly increasing, not by births, for there are few of these, but by importations, so that the same uneducated class is supplied perpetually.
The Chinese do not come to make their home in this country; their only purpose is to acquire what would be a competence in China and return there to enjoy it. While there is a constant and increasing incoming tide there is a constant outflow also less in volume, of persons who have worked out specified years of servitude and made money enough to live upon in China, and so sever their connection with this country.
It further appears from the evidence that the Chinese do not desire to become citizens of this country, and have no knowledge of or appreciation for our institutions. Very few of them learn to speak our language. They do not desire the ballot, and there is danger that if they had it their "head-men" would control the sale of it in quantities large enough to determine any election. That it would be destructive to the Pacific States to put the ballot in their hands was very generally believed by the witnesses. Their want of knowledge of our language and institutions would prevent an intelligent exercise of suffrage; while their number in California at the present time is so great that they could control any election if the ballot was put into their hands. The number of adult Chinese is, at the present time, as great as that of all the voters in the State, or nearly reaching that number, and they increase more rapidly than the other adult population of the State. To admit these vast numbers of aliens to citizenship and the ballot would practically destroy republican institutions upon the Pacific coast, for the Chinese have no comprehension of any form of government but despotism, and have not the words in their own language to describe intelligibly the principles of our representative system.
It was covered before the committee that Chinese women in California are bought and sold for prostitution, and are treated worse than dogs; that they are held in a most revolting condition of slavery. It was further shown that the Chinese have a quasi government among themselves independent of our laws, authorizing the punishment of offenders against Chinese customs, even to the taking of life. It was further shown that violent hostilities exist between Chinamen from different parts of China, who, coming together in California by accident or otherwise, engage in deadly feuds and riots, to the disturbance of the public peace. Large numbers of them, notwithstanding the difficulty of conviction, owing to the looseness of the Chinese oath, occupy the State's prison and jails.
They are cruel and indifferent to their sick, sometimes turning them out to die, and the corpses of dead Chinamen and women are sometimes found in the streets by the policemen, where they have been left by their associates at night. The climatic conditions of San Francisco are unfavorable to the prevalence of pestilence, but it was in testimony that the conditions existing in the Chinese quarter of this city transferred to New York, Saint Louis, Cincinnati, New Orleans, or other large cities east of the Rocky Mountains, would make those cities uninhabitable. The Chinese quarter already extends over a considerable area in the heart of San Francisco, and is growing year by year. The progress is steady and constant, and the business portion of the city is already cut off by the Chinese quarter from a portion where are many of the most elegant residences.
Such Chinese quarters exist in all the cities and towns of the Pacific coast. The tide of Chinese immigration is gradually tending eastward, and before a quarter of a century the difficult question that now arises upon the Pacific coast will probably have to be met upon the banks of the Mississippi, and perhaps on the Ohio and Hudson. Many people of the Pacific coast believe that this influx of Chinese is a standing menace to republican institutions upon the Pacific, and the existence there of Christian civilization.
From all the facts that they have gathered bearing upon the matter, considering fairly the testimony for and against the Chinese, the committee believe that this opinion is well founded. They believe that free institutions founded upon free schools and intelligence can only be maintained where based on intelligent and adequately-paid labor. Adequate wages are needed to give self-respect to the laborer and the means of education to his children. Family-life is a great safeguard to our political institutions. Chinese immigration involves sordid wages, no public schools, and the absence of the family. We speak of the Chinese as they have exhibited themselves on the Pacific coast for twenty-five years past, and as they are there at the present time. They show few of the characteristics of a desirable population, and many to be deprecated by any patriot.
This problem is too important to be treated with indifference. Congress should solve it, having due regard to any rights already accrued under existing treaties and to humanity. But it must be solved, in the judgment of the committee, unless our Pacific possessions are to be ultimately given over to a race alien in all its tendencies, which will make of it practically provinces of China rather than States of the Union.
The committee recommend that measures be taken by the Executive looking toward a modification of the existing treaty with China, confining it to strictly commercial purposes; and that Congress legislate to restrain the great influx of Asiatics to this country. It is not believed that either of these measures would be looked upon with disfavor by the Chinese government. Whether this is so or not, a duty is owing to the Pacific States and territories which are suffering under a terrible scourge, but are patiently waiting for relief from Congress.
CHARLES CROCKER sworn and examined. [Complete Testimony, pp. 666-688.]
By Mr. [F. A.] BEE [attorney of the six companies]:
Question. How long have you been in this State ?—Answer. I have been here twenty-six years.
Q. What has been your business ?—A. For the last fifteen or sixteen years I have been building railroads.
Q. The commission is here to get information in. reference to the Chinese question. You have had considerable to do with the employment of Chinese in constructing railways, I believe?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you commence the construction of the Central Pacific with Chinese or white labor ?—A. We commenced with white labor.
Q. How long did you continue it?—A. We never discontinued it; we have always employed white labor.
Q. I mean how long did you continue with that kind of labor extensively ?—A. We continued about a year and a half, when we found we could not get sufficient labor to progress with the road as fast as was necessary, and we felt driven to the expediency of trying Chinese labor. I believe that all our people were prejudiced against Chinese labor, and that there was a disposition not to employ them.
Q. You mean that the railroad people were prejudiced ?—A. Yes, sir; especially Mr. Strobridge and myself, who had charge of the construction more particularly. I had the charge of the construction and Mr. Strobridge was under me as superintendent. He thought that Chinese labor would not answer, including what they eat, and other things, and from what he had seen of them ; he did not think they were fit laborers; he did not think they would build a railroad, We advertised very thoroughly and sent circulars to every post-office in the State inviting white labor, and offering large prices for that class of labor, but we failed to get over 800 men. Our force, I think, never went much above 800 white laborers with the shovel and the pick, and after pay-day it would run down to six or seven hundred, then before the next pay-day it would get up to 800 men again, but we could not increase beyond that amount. Then we were compelled to try Chinese labor, and we tried them on the light work, thinking they would not do for heavy work. Gradually we found that they worked well there, and as our forces spread out and we began to occupy more ground and felt more in a hurry, we put them into the softer cuts, and finally into the rock cuts. Wherever we put them we found them good, and they worked themselves into our favor to such an extent that if we found we were in a hurry for a job of work, it was better to put Chinese on at once. Previous to that we had always put on white men; and to-day if I had a big job of work that I wanted to get through quick with, and had a limited time to do it in, I should take Chinese labor to do it with, because of its greater reliability and steadiness, and their aptitude and capacity for hard work.
By the CHAIRMAN [Mr. Morton]:
Q. What are their powers of endurance ?—A. They are equal to the best white men. We tested that in the Summit tunnel, which is in the very hardest granite. We had a shaft down in the center. We were cutting both ways from the bottom of that shaft. The company were in a very great hurry for that tunnel, as it was the key to the position across the mountains, and they urged me to get the very best Cornish miners and put them into the tunnel so as to hurry it, and we did so. We went to Virginia City and got some Cornish Miners out of those mines and paid them extra wages. We put them into one side of the shaft, the heading leading from one side, and we had Chinamen on the other side. We measured the work every Sunday morning; and the Chinamen without fail always outmeasured the Cornish miners; that is to say, they would cut more rock in a week than the Cornish miners did, and there it was hard work, steady pounding on the rock, bone-labor. The Chinese were skilled in using the hammer and the drill; and they proved themselves equal to the very best Cornish miners in that work. They are very trusty, they are very intelligent, and they live up to their contracts.
By Mr. BEE:
Q. As to their social, moral, and financial effect upon this coast I wish you to be elaborate in giving your views to the commission, as you have had great experienced that way. How as to their advancement of this State or otherwise ?—A. I think that the presence of the Chinese as laborers among us goes very far toward the material interest of the country; that without their labor we would be thrown back in all branches of industry, farming, mining, reclaiming lands, and everything else. I believe that the effect of Chinese labor upon white labor has an elevating instead of a degrading tendency. I think that every white laborer who is intelligent and able to work, who is more than a digger in a ditch, or a man with a pick and a shovel, who has the capacity of being something else, can get to be something else by the presence of Chinese labor easier than he could without it. As I said before, when we were working 800 white men, and that was the extent we could get, we began to put on Chinamen. Instead of our white force decreasing it increased, and when we had 8, 9, and 10 thousand Chinamen on the work, we had from 2,500 to 3,000 white men. Instead of these white men being engaged shoveling dirt, or with a pick and shovel, they were teamsters, mechanics, foremen, and men in an elevated grade of labor, receiving wages far above what they would have done if we had had the same number throwing up the dirt and digging in the rock. I know of a great many instances where men have come on to the road and taken a foremanship over Chinamen, and have acquired a little start which they afterward used, and they are now independent citizens, owners of farms, owners of corner groceries and stores in the country towns, &c. The start they got they would not have got without the help of Chinese labor. I believe, to-day, if the Chinese labor was driven out of this State, if there, are 75,000 Chinese laborers here to-day, there are 75,000 white laborers who would have to come down from the elevated classes of labor they are now engaged in and take the place of these Chinamen, and therefore it would degrade white labor instead of elevating it. That would be the effect it seems to me without any doubt, and it would be a very hard pill for our white laborers to take. There is a certain class of white laborers in this country, as in every other country, who go on to railroads and all public works, who are not capable of elevation ; they will not elevate themselves. They only expect to be daylaborers, and the more money they get for their labor the less labor they do. It is a notorious maxim among railroad men, that the lower the wages are, the more work you can get out of white laborers. That is curious, but it is true, and it is illustrated by an incident that occurred on our work, which a gentleman told me, and I will relate it here. We were working in the heavy work just this side of Colfax, and the stage road from Virginia City passed alongside of the railroad at that point. There was a very heavy cut there, and we had employed white laborers at that time to work on it. We, at that time, thought that only heavy things could be done by white labor; but there were some Chinamen near by. This gentleman spoke to one of these laborers, asked him what wages they were receiving. I think we were paying $35 a mouth and board to white laborers, and $30 a mouth to Chinamen and they boarded themselves. Said the workman, $35. The gentleman remarked. "That is pretty good wages." "Yes," says he, "but begad if it wasn't for them damned nagurs we would get $50 and not do half the work." That is an illustration of the effect of high wages on that kind of labor. There are men among that same nationality, that same kind of men, who are good men, who when they have an opportunity will get themselves up and elevate themselves. There is proof of that in the fact that after we got Chinamen on to the work, we took the more intelligent of the white laborers and made foremen of them. I know of several of them now who never expected, never had a dream that they were ever going to be anything but, shovelers of dirt, hewers of wood and drawers of water, and they are now respectable farmers, owning farms. They got a start by controlling Chinese labor on our railroad, and they are good, trusty men. But there is a class, that will not do anything else but what they are doing; and those men, no matter whether the Chinamen are here or whether they are not here, never will be anything else but what they are. They will work just long enough to get something to buy liquor with, and then they will spend their time drinking it up.
By the CHAIRMAN:
Q. What is the character of the Chinese whom you have employed, for temperance ?—A. They are all temperate.
Q. Have they peaceful habits ?—A. I have never seen a drunken Chinaman on the work, and I do not know that I have ever met a drunken Chinaman on the streets. I have no recollection of ever having seen a drunken Chinaman. I have seen them under the effect of opium by going into their rooms where they smoke opium. I have gone around through their quarters as a sight-seer and I have seen them under the influence of that drug, but never under the influence of liquor. Yet they drink liquor.
Q. Does opium have the effect to stupefy them or to make them violent?—A. It stupefies them. They lie in a state of stupor and dream pleasant dreams, as I understand it.
Q. What are the habits of Chinese while at work in gangs? Are they quarrelsome or peaceful?—A. Entirely peaceful. In one or two instances I have known of fights among the Chinese, clannish fights. They have their clans. I think there is what they call the upland and the lowland Chinaman. Mr. Strobridge is better posted on that subject, because he has been among them more than I have. There is a kind of a dark-skinned race of Chinamen who are antagonistic to another class. I do not know that I can describe the difference between them, but they will once in a while clash and fight.
Q. There seems to be some hostility which they have brought with them ?—A. Yes, Sir; when two different gangs of those men get into the same neighborhood they may clash, but by separating them there is no trouble. So far as the controlling of large bodies of laborers on works of the magnitude of the Central Pacific, we had one strike with the Chinese. We had then our maximum strength. I think that we very nearly approached 10,000 men on the work. The Chinese circulated a document among themselves, all through the camp, and on the next Monday morning they refused to come out. That was done on Saturday, and on Monday none of the laborers came out. It was a strike; they remained idle.
By Senator [A. A.] SARGENT:
Q. What was the occasion; a strike for higher wages ?—A. Yes, Sir; I think they were incited to this by emissaries from the other side who wished to keep us in the mountains while they were building the road over the plains. We always supposed they were incited to it by emissaries from the other side, although we never could prove it. If there had been that number of white laborers on that work in a strike there would have been murder and drunkenness and disorder of all kinds; it would have been impossible to have controlled them ; but this strike of the Chinese was just like Sunday all along the work. These men staid in their camps; that is, they would come out and walk around, but not a word was said, nothing was done; no violence was perpetrated along the whole line. I stopped the provisions on them, stopped the butchers from butchering, and used such coercive measures. I then went up there and made them a little war speech and told them they could not control the works, that no one made laws there but me. I talked to them so that they could comprehend what the rules and regulations were, and that if they did not choose to obey they could go away from the work, but under no circumstances would I give way to them. I gave them until the next Monday morning at six o'clock to come back, and told them that every man who went to work then should be forgiven for the week's strike, but that all others should be fined. We had a system of fines for men not coming out, keeping foremen and keeping horses at work when there were not enough laborers, and we charged the expenses of the horses and carts to the gang who failed to keep them employed. They well understood what fining meant for the week's idleness, and on Monday morning at six o'clock the whole country swarmed with them, and we never had so many working before or since as we had on that day. They returned peaceably to work.
By the CHAIRMAN:
Q. How long have you lived on this coast ?—A. Twenty-six years.
Q. You have been acquainted with the operations of the Chinese since their first arrival here ?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. State what, in your judgment, is their effect Upon white labor whether they have the effect to deprive white men of employment, Or, have had that effect at any time.—A. I think that they afford white men labor. I think that their presence here affords to white men a more elevated class of labor. As I said before, if you should drive these 75,000 Chinamen off you would take 75,000 white men from an elevated class of work and put them down to doing this low class of labor that the Chinamen are now doing, and instead of elevating you would degrade the white labor to that extent. For any man to ride through California, from one end of this State to the other, and see the miles upon miles of uncultivated land, and in the mountains millions of acres of timber, and the foot-hills waiting for some one to go and cultivate them, and then talk about there being too much labor herein the country is simply nonsense, in my estimation. There is labor for all, and the fact that the Chinamen are here gives an opportunity to white men to go in and cultivate this land where they could not cultivate it otherwise.
Q. You think, then, there is no conflict between the interest of the white and the Chinese laborer ?—A. No, sir ; I think if the white laborer understood and realized his true interest he would be in favor of the present proportion of Chinese labor in this State. I think that there might be an increase of the immigration to such an extent that it would be injurious, but the present equilibrium is not too much. I think that one in ten is about the number that is healthy.
Q. Do you mean one Chinaman to ten white laboring white men ?—A. I mean the entire white population, one laboring Chinaman for ten white persons as they are generally enumerated for population.
Q. Do you think there are too many Chinamen here now ?—A. No, sir; I think the number is just about right. I believe that not long ago there were a few too many of them, but they went away, seeking other places for profitable employment. I believe the law of supply and demand will regulate itself if they are left alone. I recognize a Chinaman as more than an ordinarily intelligent man, and they will not come here unless they can get profitable employment. When there are too many here they will go somewhere else; they have done that repeatedly. There have been times when there was a less number in the State than now, and there have been times in 1864 or 1865 when, I think, there were more Chinamen there than now. Whenever there is a scarcity of labor for these Chinamen you see them taking the steamers for home, and when there is a demand for their labor they come.
Q. You think this law of supply and demand would regulate their coming without any legislation by Congress ?—A. I do. I believe the best thing to do is to let the subject alone and leave it to regulate itself, and it will regulate itself. There may be a time for a month or a year or eighteen months when there are too many Chinamen here, but they find they cannot get labor, and go away.
Q. Is there among intelligent people here an apprehension that the State is liable to be invaded by vast hordes of Chinamen ?—A. I do not know what public sentiment is more than as I meet persons on the street.
By Mr. BEE:
Q. As an old citizen, suppose we should call a convention here, after all political matters have been settled, and pass a resolution saying that both political parties in convention agree to submit to the voters of the State of California the question of Chinese immigration, yes ; or, Chinese immigration, no. What, in your opinion, would be the result of that ballot ?—A. I believe if it was argued calmly and deliberately before the people, without any of this hue and cry, eight-tenths of the people would vote for the amount of Chinese labor there is here now. You can get up a hue and cry against the best man in the world, and hang him, if the newspapers will only say enough about it. If the politicians and men who harangue the people will talk fast enough and hard enough you can get them to hang a good citizen,; but if you will argue this question legitimately before the people on its merits, without any partisan feeling, you can come down to any man who owns a little homestead, if it is only worth $500, and I believe that eight-tenths of the people will vote for the amount of Chinese people that is here now. I believe that if to-day the question could be presented to the people of California, free from partisan politics, free from that agitating tirade against a race, particularly on account of their color, their manners and customs, and all that—the people to-day would vote against this anti-Chinese sentiment. That is my opinion. That is what I say, and I mix in the community. The men I come in contact with are farmers and men who have got something to work for, and they feel that way. They are in favor of them. I know when I was a boy I assisted in riots in the city of Troy, New York, when the Irish immigration was coming into the country. This same hue and cry was raised against them, and there were riots against the Irishmen. It was said they were going to overrun the country, and the people were mobbing them. Well, the Irishmen have never hurt us, I believe. I believe they have done us a great deal of good; but at that time it was argued that the Irishman was going to deluge the country and ruin the country, and that there would be no chance for an American.
By Mr. PIPER:
Q. Where were you born?—A. In Troy, New York, on the Hudson River.
Q. Were you born rich ?—A. No, sir; very poor.
Q. You worked for a living, did you not?—A. I am a working man, and always have been. I started from home when I was 16 years old, owing 62 1/2 cents, without a copper in my pocket and not a change of clothes, and I have never received any assistance from any living man since unless I paid him for it and interest upon it.
Q. You were a contractor for the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad ?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you make any money out of that contract ?—A. Yes, sir; I made all I could; just as you would, and just as other men would do.
Q. You say that you employed ten thousand Chinamen ?—A. About that number; I never knew exactly how many.
Q. Did you make more money out of that contract by employing them than if you had employed white men ?—A. I think I did.
Q. You preferred to employ Chinese because you made more money Out of the contract by employing them?—A. No, sir; as I said before, I tried my very best to get white men.
Q. Answer my question. I do not want to go into an argument.—A. I choose to answer questions to suit myself. I do not intend to place myself in a wrong attitude before the committee.
By Mr. BEE:
Q. You have a right to explain any question before answering it.—A. I say I did not prefer the Chinamen at all; I was convinced that I had to employ them in order to complete the work ; I preferred white labor.
By Mr. PIPER:
Q. Did you not once pretend to sell out your interest in that railroad ?—A. No, sir; I never made any pretensions whatever.
Q. Was it not asserted that you did sell out ?—A. I did sell; I did not make any pretension about it; it was an actual fact.
Q. Was not the reason of your selling the fact that your conduct there as a contractor so incensed white men against you that there was fear of their burning up and destroying your works?—A. No, sir.
Q. Was that not so stated at the time ?—A. No, sir; it was not.
Q. You actually sold out there ?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. You then bought back?—A. Yes, sir; do you want to know why I sold ?
Q. That was the reason given at the time.—A. It was not the reason given at the time.
Q. That was the common report.—A. I never heard it.
Q. Had they not been burning up and tearing up tracks and burning sheds there before you sold ?—A. Not more than they have since.
Q. Have there been any since ?—A. Yes.
Q. Was it not the common report ?—A. Nobody ever dared stop any work that I heard of.
Q. They burned their sheds; that is, you assumed they burned them? —A. The sheds caught fire from the engines, and, in one instance, we thought they were set on fire, but we never could prove it.
Q. Was it not the common report that these things were set on fire on account of your conduct in employing Chinese labor to the exclusion of white labor ?—A. Allow me to say that the American River bridge we believed was burned by incendiaries, actuated by this feeling that was manufactured against the company on account of their employing Chinese labor. At that time, and at the time of the burning of the Sacramento bridge, I had just moved into my new house in Sacramento. A woman came to my wife and told her she overheard a plot to burn my house.
Q. On account of your employing Chinese labor to the exclusion of white labor?—A. Not to the exclusion of white labor. We always employed every white man who came to the work while we were building the Central, and I dare any man to prove the contrary. We never turned away a white laborer, for we wanted all the labor we could get, and we could never get enough of Chinese labor or white labor.
Q. You say you never got anything you did not work for ?—A. Never.
Q. Did you work for that $27,000,000 in subsidies that you got ?—A. I never got $27,000,000 of subsidy.
Q. How much did you get?—A. That is my business. I got all I could, I assure you.
Q. You got very nearly that, in the neighborhood of it.—A. No, sir. I do not think that has anything to do with this matter.
Q. You went into an elaborate explanation about the Chinese.—A. I have a deep feeling in regard to the interests of this State.
Q. You are a common carrier; that is your business ?—A. Yes, Sir I am interested in that.
Q. Chinamen especially ride a great deal on your road ?—A. Yes, Sir, and white men.
Q. The more Chinamen you have to ride on it, the more passengers you get ?—A. The more white men the more passengers we have.
Q. The Chinese ride more than the white men?—A. Yes, Sir.
Q. They are more profitable passengers?—A. No, Sir; they are not so profitable because they generally ride second class.
Q. Is not that the same class that other passengers ride?—A. No, sir; it costs just as much to ride second class, but we would rather have every man ride first class, and would rather furnish them with a drawing-room car and let them pay for it.
Q. The more people that come to California, whether they be Chinese or white men, the more profit there is to your road ?—A. Yes, sir ; that is so. We are deeply interested in the prosperity of this State.
Q. I suppose so; and you are a good deal interested in some other things. You are interested in a steamship-line between here and Hong-Kong ?—A. Yes, Sir.
Q. And the prosperity of that line depends in a great measure upon emigration and immigration ?—A. It may incidentally.
Q. I say it does; does it not ?—A. Yes; in some respects.
Q. Suppose there were no Chinese going to and fro between here and Hong-Kong, do you think you could run your line with profit ?—A. Yes, Sir.
Q. That is precisely what I want to know. You think that these steamship-lines between here and Hong-Kong can be run profitably as a business proposition by these Chinese companies ? You are not in the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, are you ?—A. No, Sir.
Q. There are two companies profitably engaged ?—A. You are changing the nature of the question. You asked me about the line I was interested in, and now you say these lines. I do not believe both lines could be supported without the aid of the immigration.
Q. You believe you could run your line profitably as a business proposition independent of emigration and immigration of the Chinese to and, fro ?—A. Yes, Sir; I wish to explain, however, in respect to that matter. Our Oriental Steamship Line is an auxiliary of the railroad. The Pacific Mail Steamship Company at one time refused to give us any teas; they refused to receive any teas in China consigned to New York over the railroad. They carried that on for a year and we did not carry a pound of their teas, excepting some few that were shipped here at San Francisco and then transshipped, which made it more expensive. In order to get that business, which we in some measure built the road for, and for which Congress argued the necessity of the road and the people of the United States justified the building of the road, we organized this Steamship company and went after that tea. Whether we made any money off of those ships particularly or not, we brought the tea to the road and made some money on the road. It brought business to the road and carried the business through this country instead of carrying it through a foreign country by the way of Panama. We did that because we thought it was our duty to do it and our profit to do it.
Q. As a fact, you cannot run your steamship alone profitably, as a business proposition, independent of the emigration or immigration of Chinese from Hong-Kong to this port ?—A. I think we can run those three ships as we run them, in connection with the railroad; and viewing it in that light, one company could run without Chinese immigration, but I do not believe that the Pacific Mail Steamship Company could run theirs also.
Q. You are a very rich man, are you not ?—A. I do not know, when my debts are paid. I do not know how much I am worth. I owe a good deal of money, and have a good deal of property.
Q. What men, other than capitalists and large land-holders, have you ever heard express the idea that Chinese immigration to this coast was an advantage ?—A. I have heard farmers and fruit-raisers, I have heard manufacturers, I have heard small mechanics express that opinion.
Q. What mechanics ?—A. Mechanics who have a family and must have a servant to do a little work, when they could not afford to pay thirty and forty dollars for a female servant. They are willing to take a Chinaman at twenty dollars. They can afford that, but they could not afford forty dollars for white servants.
Q. You mix a good deal with that class, do you ?—A. Yes, sir; I have always been a friend of mechanics, and I believe they are friendly to me. I think I am as good a friend of the workingman as there is in the State of California.
Q. Were you or were you not very much opposed to negro slavery?—A. I was, always. I was an abolitionist from a boy.
Q. You were prominently engaged in the underground railroad to some extent ?—A. What do you mean by that ?
Q. It is a common expression.—A. Explain yourself.
Q. You were so much opposed to slavery that you would have aided a negro to escape ?—A. If a negro slave came to my door and wanted bread he would get it, and if he wanted a little money to help him along to freedom he would get it.
Q. Do you or do you not believe that the Chinese immigration to this country has the same tendency to degrade free white labor as that of negro slavery in the South ?—A. No, sir; because it is not servile labor.
Q. It is not ?—A. It is not; it is free labor; just as free labor as yours and mine. You cannot control a Chinaman except you pay him for it. You cannot make any contract with him, or his friend, or supposed master, and get his labor unless you pay for it, and pay him for it.
Q. Did you ever make contracts with the six companies or any particular Chinaman to import here a certain number of Chinamen to work upon your roads ?—A. I never made any contract with the six companies. I made a contract with a merchant here.
Q. With any one ?—A. We made a contract with Koopmanschap.
Q. For how many Chinamen ?—A. I told him all he would bring, up to 2,000. He brought 500.
Q. When you employed Chinamen, did you employ the individual Chinamen, or did you employ some man to furnish you with a certain number of Chinamen ? Did you employ your Chinamen that you worked on that road as individual Chinamen, or did you employ some boss Chinaman to furnish you with so many men ?—A. The way the labor was employed on that road was this.
Q. I speak of that road, or this road, or any road.—A. On any road when we employed them for labor we have always procured our Chinamen through the house of Sisson, Wallace & Co. here.
By the CHAIRMAN:
They are white men ?—A. They are white men, a mercantile firm here.
By Mr. PIPER:
Q. What are they —Americans ?—A. They are Americans; one of them is a very good democrat.
Q. I am not talking politics now-; that is over.—A. You inquired so particularly.
Q. I simply want to know whether they were English, Chinese, or Americans ?—A. I do not want you to think that republicans have made all the money out of the Chinamen.
Q. That is immaterial.—A. That house furnished us with Chinamen. They gathered them one at a time, two, three, four of them in a place, and got them together to make what is called a gang, and each gang is numbered.
Q. Just like mules ?—A. Well, sir, we cannot distinguish China-men by names very well.
Q. Like mules ?—A. Not like mules, but like men. We have treated them like men, and they have treated us like men, and they are men, good and true men. As I say, we employed them in that way. They come together in gangs of twenty-five and thirty, as we need them to work on a job of work, and the account is kept with the gang, No, 1, No. 2, 25, 30, 50, 100, just as it is. Each gang has a book-keeper to keep the account among themselves. We have a foreman and he keeps the account with the gang and credits them. Every night the Chinese book-keeper, who is one of the workmen and works in the pit along with the rest, comes up with his book, and he says so many days for that gang, do you see? and they count it up and they agree, and each puts it down. Then the Chinese keep their own accounts among themselves; but we keep an account with the gang. When the pay-day comes the gang is paid for all the labor of the gang, and then they divide it among themselves.
Q. Does the same thing obtain with the white men ?—A. No, sir; we get the individual names of the white men.
Q. You do not pay the individual Chinaman when he works for you?—A. We pay the head-man of the gang.
Q. Some head-man ?—A. He is a laborer among them.
Q. You do not pay them in the same manner that you pay white men ?—A. In the same manner, except that we cannot keep the names of the Chinamen; it is impossible. We would not know Ah Sin, Ali You, Kong Won, and all such names. We cannot keep their names in the usual way, because it is a different language. You understand the difficulty. It is not done in that way because they are slaves.
Q. Is it not a kind of servile labor ?—A. Not a bit. I give you my word of honor under oath here that I do not believe there is a Chinese slave in this State, except it may be a prostitute. I hear of that, but I do not know anything about it. If you do, you know more than I do.
Q. Can a Chinaman immigrate from this State on your steamers or the Pacific Mail Steamship Company's steamers as free as a white man can?—A. Certainly.
Q. It has been testified here by Mr. Gibson and others that they cannot.—A. What is that?
Q. Can the Chinaman immigrate as a white man does, and pay his passage on your steamers or the Pacific Mail Steamship Company's steamers as freely as a white man ?—A. If he cannot I do not know it; I am not familiar with the regulations.
By Senator SARGENT:
Q. Must he have anything like a permit from the Chinese companies to go ?—A. Not that I know.
By Mr. BEE:
It has not been testified that the Occidental and Oriental Company had any such regulations?—A. I am not familiar with the, regulations.
Senator SARGENT. (To Rev. Mr. Gibson.) Did you refer only to the Pacific Mail or to the other lines also?
Rev. Mr. GIBSON. I referred at the time to Mr. Otis. I think it is a system that prevails on all the steamers. I suppose Mr. Crocker does not know anything about it.
The WITNESS. I know they are very strict about their debts; that they must pay their debts before going away, and I wish the practice was just as good among white men.
By Mr. PIPER:
Q. You are from New York ?—A. I am from the city of Troy, six miles above Albany, on the Hudson River.
Q. Do you think these Chinamen who are here are as much advantage to this State, to its well-being, both morally, materially, and politically, as the same number of immigrants from the State of New York and from New England would be ?—A. No, sir. If we could get the same number of New England men here, I would rather have them a good deal.
Q. You think it would be more advantage to the State, both morally, socially, and politically ?—A. Undoubtedly; but I do believe in the same connection that the presence of the Chinamen does not prevent the New Englander from coming; but, on the contrary, when the New Englander comes here he can use the Chinaman very much in opening a farm, and cultivating it after he gets it open.
Q. Then, that is to say that the Chinese are an inferior race—to be employed as servants and laborers by us, their superiors ?—A. We are superior when we prove ourselves superior. There are a great many white men who do not prove themselves very much superior.
Q. I speak of the general run of white men.—A. The general run of white men, I think, can get along in California a little better than any Chinamen, particularly in walking the streets in peace and comfort.
Q. In your opinion, is it not building up a kind of servile labor here, as you have admitted yourself?—A. No, sir; I have not admitted it. I have told you, on the contrary, that I do not believe there is a slave among them. I do not think when you employ a man and pay him his wages that it is servile labor because he works in my wood-yard. I would do it myself if I could not hire a man to do it. If I were "busted" to-day and could not get any better work to do than sawing wood, I would saw your wood for you.
Q. You know what peonage means?—A. I have heard of it.
Q. You know in Mexican or Spanish-American countries there is a system of peonage ?—A. Yes, sir; where a man gets in debt and he has to work it out. But they keep charging him more than he earns and he never gets the debt paid.
Q. Does not that system prevail among the Chinese here to a great extent?—A. No; I do not believe it ; I never heard of it.
Q. Do you think that the Chinese immigration here is equal to the European immigration which comes to the United States, in a moral, physical, material, and political sense ? Compare the Chinese with the same number of European immigrants who would come to this country. —A. I believe that the same number of European immigrants coming here would be a better class of population politically, and possibly morally, though I do not know anything immoral in the great multitude of the Chinese. There may be immoral people among them, but I do not see it; I do not go out where their immorality is practiced. It certainly is not on the streets; it certainly is not on the railroad, where we have large numbers of them; but I believe that white population is better for the country than Chinese population.
Q. I am glad to hear that from you.—A. Do not understand me to have said, for one moment, that I would not prefer white labor to Chinese labor if we could get it; but my point is that the Chinese labor enables white men to come here and cultivate land, and cultivate it without Chinese labor. In the proportion that I say now and for years to come, of one to ten, the Chinese are a good, healthy element in our political body.
Q. Suppose that no Chinamen had ever come to this coast, do you or do you not believe that an equal number of white immigrants would have come from eastern States and Europe to fill their places as laborers and mechanics ?- A. No, sir; I do not. I do not believe that the presence of the Chinamen has ever prevented a white man from coming here.
Q. Do you not know that a great many laboring men come from the East here and cannot find employment and go back ?—A. No, sir; no one who really wants work ever did come here and go back. I have employed lots of them and know when they want work.
Q. Do you not know that you carry back a great many laboring men after they come here and stay a month or two months? You have seen them on the trains going back to the East ?—A. I have seen them do that when they could go into the mines and make $15 a day; they would get discouraged and go home or to some other place. When I was getting $15 and $20 a day a man alongside of me would get discouraged and say, "Damn the country," and go home. I have seen that, Senator Sargent has seen it, and you have seen it if you have lived here that long. I do not know whether you are an old Californian or not.
Q. Older than you.—A. You have seen them, then, in all stages of our existence as a people.
Q. Does that feeling obtain among the Chinese ?—A. Yes, sir; lots of them turnaround and go back as soon as they can get off. Some of them get discouraged, some of them get homesick, and they go back.
Q. Then you do not think Chinese labor is better than white labor?—A. No, sir; I do not believe it is better. I believe it is a mighty good substitute for white labor, and when you cannot get white labor it is good to get Chinese labor.
Q. About as good as negro slavery in the South ?—A. I never was a believer in slavery. The poor white man was degraded by negro slavery, because it was a servile labor; but now that the negro is free and can earn his money, the next generation or two will not feel ashamed to labor alongside of him.
Q. You are not much of a philanthropist?—A. I believe I am, as much as any man of ordinary parts. I was always a great opposer of human slavery. By God, I would have given my last dollar to have had them free. Uncle Sam could have called on me for every dollar I was worth, and my life, too, to fight for freedom.
Q. Particularly when you were getting a good many dollars from Uncle Sam ?—A. Well, I got all I could from him. When I make a bargain 1 make the best one I can, and I live tip to it right to the last item.
Q. Do you give much money to these missionaries here who are trying to convert the Chinese?—A. I have given some money for that purpose.
Q. Do you think that to convert them to Christianity is going to improve their morals ?—A. I am not much of a believer in Christianity, I am sorry to say. I believe, " a man is a man for a' that," as the saying is; but I do not know that my belief on religion has anything to do with the matter.
Q. You are a common carrier; that is your business, and the more Chinamen there are here, the more people you will carry ?—A. I would rather have white men than Chinamen for travelers. (To the Chairman.) Who is the gentleman who has been questioning me?
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Piper, your Representative in Congress.
The WITNESS. Mr. Piper, I did not know who you were when you were questioning me; and if I have wounded your feelings, I apologize.
By Senator SARGENT:
Q. You think that the proportions of Chinese that we now have, or in other words, the proportion of one to ten, would be healthful ?—A. I think so.
Q. You have explained why you think a less number than the proportion of one to ten might be a disadvantage. Will you please explain why you think a greater number than one to ten would be a disadvantage ?—A. That proportion, in my judgment, is a proper equilibrium. I believe when they get to be more than that here they will go away. I believe that has been proved by what has transpired heretofore.
Q. So you only want the number that would be willing to stay ?-A, Yes, sir.
Q. You do not take into consideration the moral question or the effect upon political institutions ? You do not consider any question except whether they will stay or not ?—A. I consider that as they are wanted for labor they will come, and when there are too many of them here to find profitable employment they will go away.
Q. I thought that your answer perhaps embraced some care for our institutions, that you thought more than one to ten might injure us in some way more than our labor or advancement of material interest would compensate, but I find you eliminate all such considerations ?—A. I have never seen in my experience any injury that the Chinaman has worked to any of our institutions. I have never noticed that they have affected the morals of the people. They keep to themselves. If our people keep away from them, the Chinese will not force themselves upon them. I am speaking now of prostitutes. The prostitutes are slunk away in blind alleys, and if our people keep away from them they are not-going to go hunting after our people. I believe if our people want to be debauched, they will find plenty of white prostitutes to debauch them in the absence of the Chinese.
Q. Do you think it would be a good idea to admit the Chinese to citizenship here, as voters ?—A. I think we have got voters enough now.
Q. You do not think that would be a good idea?—A. No, I do not.
Q. I should like to ask you if you think the presence of a very large number of a non-voting male class is desirable in a republic?—A. No, I do not.
Q. Then would not that be an objection to there being large numbers of them here, if you think it would not be a good idea to admit them to the ballot ? Would not the presence of a very large number of them here, when you think it is against public policy to admit them to the ballot, be a disadvantage, as you say it is a disadvantage to have a large non-voting male class ?—A. I will tell you, Senator, I believe in an educational standard for voting. If a Chinaman has lived in our country long enough to become educated in our language and to understand our institutions, he will make just as good a voter as I will. If he should become a citizen, I believe he would make just as good a voter and have just as much care for his material welfare and prosperity as a citizen as I have.
Q. Under those circumstances you think it would be safe to let him vote ?—A. Yes, sir; but I do not believe they are going to remain here long enough to become good citizens, and I would not admit them to citizenship.
Q. Then they make a large floating non-voting class? Is not that undesirable in a republic?—A. If they were white men, speaking our language, and had our aspiration for political power and for influence in society, they would be very undesirable; but as they have no such aspiration, and as they do not desire to be citizens, and they have no particular care about our political institutions, they are harmless and indifferent, and they would not affect our politics, nor affect our morals, nor affect our status in any way, I think.
Q. Do they not really affect our politics? It has been urged here, and stated over and over again, that we get up political quarrels over them. Does it not make quarrels among ourselves, and in that way indirectly affect our politics?—A. I do not think the mass of the people are interested in these quarrels. I think they are the corner-grocery politicians mostly that get up all this trouble about Chinamen.
Q. Did you see the petition of nearly twenty thousand names sent on to me in two large bound volumes which I presented to Congress, and are you aware of the character of the men who signed that petition ?—A. No, sir; but I know how easy it is to get up petitions.
Q. Do you think we have in this city twenty thousand corner-grocery politicians and men of that kind?—A. No, I do not think we have.
Q. Are you aware that on that petition there were the names of lawyers, of merchants, of bankers, and clergymen ?- A. I did not see the
Q. If you were told that was true, and the names of large numbers of these classes were there, they signing freely, of course, would that modify your opinion, whether this objection to them comes only from corner-grocers ?—A. You were asking me about political agitation. I say this political agitation and this quarreling between parties comes from corner-grocery politicians. I do not believe, in other words, that the respectable signers of that petition agitated the public mind about Chinese immigration, or agitated the political parties about it.
Q. Do you think that that political agitation is unwholesome, undesirable?—A. Yes, sir, I do.
Q. Then I ask you if the presence of Chinamen here does not affect our politics unwholesomely ?—A. In that respect it does.
Q. Then if they are a non-voting class they may be a bone of contention and a cause of bad blood between parties ?—A. Not necessarily; but we are foolish enough to make them so. That is no fault of theirs.
Q. No matter where the fault lies, has not their presence here had that tendency?—A. I think if we quit this agitation and come right down to a quiet atmosphere, politicians would not have so much trouble as they have now.
Q. You and I are old republicans. Do you not know that it was said in defense of slavery, that if we would only stop agitating the slavery question everything would be quiet and lovely; just the same argument that you are now advancing ?—A. It is a different thing. They are not parallel cases, I think.
Q. Is it not a fact that the same argument was used in regard to slavery?—A. I know that the southern people used that argument; but I believed in agitation then.
By Mr. PIPER:
Q. You were an agitator then?—A. I was an agitator then, you bet.
By Senator SARGENT:
Q. And you were an agitator on principle, you thought?—A. Yes, sir. I tell you I sacrificed lots for that principle, too.
Q. I know you to be an old republican well.—A. I am an old abolitionist.
Q. I want to know whether the defense of slavery was not also that it enabled the white men to be an employing class, and that here was the labor at their command ?—A. No, on the contrary, the poor white man could never employ the negroes.
Q. I am not asking you the fact; I am only testing your information. Do you not know that one prominent argument advanced by the friends of slavery was that it elevated the white man, gave him a class below him, and that he could employ the slave and make money out of him?—A. Yes, sir; that was an argument, but a false argument.
Q. Is not that the argument advanced in regard to Chinamen to-day ?—A. The truth is, that was a servile labor, and it made labor with the poor white class what you may say unfashionable or degrading, so that the white men could not afford to labor at the same labor as the slave labor; but a white laborer can afford to labor alongside of a Chinaman when they are both paid for their labor. That is what I believe.
Q. Do you not know that an objection exists in the minds of many laborers in the State to working alongside of a Chinaman because they think that the Chinaman is a degraded person? Do you not know that the objection exists, whether it is sound or unsound ?—A. I guess it does to some extent, but I think to a very limited extent now. I think that that feeling of prejudice is fast wearing out.
Q. On the contrary, is not whatever feeling there is against Chinamen as strong now as it has been in our previous history ?—A. That kind of feeling against working alongside of them is not as strong as it was, because when we first commenced employing them on the road white men would not work in the same cut with them ; they would not work within a hundred rods of them; but now they work right together, and one man will take hold of a piece of iron on one side and the Chinaman on the other. No prejudice of that kind is general now.
Q. You say you think that one to ten is the right proportion, because that is the proportion that would stay. Suppose that one to one would stay, instead of one to ten ; would that then be the right proportion ?—A. No, I should not like to have so many.
Q. Why not?—A. I think that would be too many of them.
Why ?—A. I would not like to have them get so thick.
I want to know why ?—A. It would be unpleasant. I do not believe, however, they will ever come to that extent.
Q. Is the only reason because it would be unpleasant? Is it a mere matter of taste ?—A. Yes.
Q. That is, you do not like the Chinaman well enough to have him here in that proportion ?—A. I cannot imagine such a state of affairs. I think it is overdrawing the thing. It is not one of the possibilities that they will ever come to that extent.
Q. Suppose they do come to that number?—A. I will join you then in preventing their coming.
Q. Why would I be any more right then than now ? What is the objection to their immigration ? Is it on account of their peculiarities ? You do not speak of these matters merely as a matter of taste; neither do I. It is a matter of conviction.—A. There being an equal number of whites and Chinamen in the community is a phase of the matter that I never thought about.
Q. Suppose Congressmen from all the facts were convinced, intelligently convinced, that that is likely to happen within twenty-five years from now. Do you think it would be well for them to take some measures that would look to preventing that enormous influx?—A. I should not like to see an even number of Chinamen with the whites here.
By Mr. PIPER:
Q. What can a Chinaman live on per diem and support himself, his food and lodging?—A. I do not know. I never figured it up.
Q. What did you pay them per diem?—A. When they were on the work, I was told that the cost of provisions, their purchases at the store, amounted to an average of about $9 a month.
Q. About 30 cents a day ?—A. You can get about the exact figures, if it is important to know, from Sisson, Wallace & Co.
Q. What did you pay them per them for their labor ?—A. The most we paid them was $35 a month.
Q. The average was a dollar a day, and they would board themselves?—A. No, sir; it was $35 a month. There are 26 working-days in a month, and it was about a dollar and twenty-five cents a day, I should think,
Q. Can a white man support himself upon the same wages that a Chinaman can ?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. We will assume that a Chinaman can support himself upon 40 cents a day. I think they say they can support themselves for 20 cents a day. How could a white man, who has a wife, and probably two or three children, support himself and his family on 40 cents a day, or a dollar a day, in this country ?—A. I do not think he could.
Q. The Chinaman works for a dollar a day. Our witnesses all swear that that is the common price now for Chinese labor ?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Can a white man, American, Irishman, German, Italian, or even a Portuguese, who I believe next to Chinamen are the cheapest laborers, work for a dollar a day and support his family in this country ?—A. It is not necessary. The presence of the Chinamen obviates the necessity of his doing that kind of labor. The white man gets a better class of labor by the presence of the Chinamen, and he gets better pay.
Q. Do you believe that a white man can support himself at a dollar a day in this State?—A. At the present price of provisions, clothing, &c., a laboring man with a family would have to live very plain and simple on a dollar a day.
Q. Is it possible for them to live in this State now upon a dollar a day, as a white laborer would live in Massachusetts or in New York ?—A. 0, no; be could not live the same as a laborer lives there upon a dollar a day.
Q. I am not speaking now of a man who is capable of being a boss or superintendent, like you and I were in our junior days; we were probably a little more intelligent or better educated; but can the common mass of laborers, who have to work for their living by the day's labor for pay, live upon a dollar a day and support a family ?—A. I do not know whether they could. I cannot answer your question because I never made any figures on it. But the actual wants of a man are very few, his actual necessities are few, and a dollar a day will buy a good deal of common and ordinary provisions—good meat and good flour. When you come to little luxuries they cost; and a man cannot live as most of our laborers want to live on a dollar a day.
Q. As a matter of fact, coming right down now to facts, would it not be the consequence that the white laborer would have to work precisely at the same price as the Chinaman provided he does no more work than the Chinese laborer?—A. No, sir; I say that the Chinaman's presence here elevates and procures better wages for the whites. That is what I say; and I believe it earnestly. I say that there is a class of men who will always do this kind of work that the Chinaman is doing, and they will never try to do anything else.
Q. Will he not have to work for the same price as the Chinaman, provided he only does the same amount of work ?—A. He does not do it. He gets better wages.
Q. You are a philanthropist, I suppose. Suppose you want a certain amount of work of this lower class of labor that the Chinese could do, and you could get them to do it for a hundred dollars, and you would have to pay white men to do it one hundred and fifty dollars, would you employ Chinamen or white men? I take it you are a very liberal man about labor.—A. Men generally look after the dollars pretty closely.
Q. And you would hire the Chinamen, I suppose, if they did the same amount of work for a hundred dollars that the white men would do for one hundred and fifty dollars ?—A. I have hired white men and paid them bigger wages than I did Chinamen when I knew that the Chinamen were earning more money for me than the white men. I did it, nevertheless.
Q. The mass of men would do that, I take it?—A. No; I would not do it on a very large scale.
Q. The result is that the white man will have to come down to labor for the precise amount that the Chinaman does, providing he only does as much work per diem. I think that you will admit.—A. No, sir; I do not admit it at all. On the contrary, my evidence has been to show that the presence of the Chinese laborers furnishes a better class of labor for the white man.
Q. I am not speaking about that.—A. That is what I want to speak about, and that is what I want to go on the record here. I do not want to be on the record as saying what you want me to say, but just what I mean and know, and I feel is true. That is what I want to say.
Q. Then you think that the Chinese perform a class of servile labor that white men will not or do not perform ?—A. I do not call any labor servile. I believe that there is no man servile because he labors with his hands. I believe the laboring man is just as good a man as you and I. I tell you, if I was broke to-day, I should not consider myself degraded to saw your wood if you paid me honestly for it, which you would have to do if I did it.
Q. Would you be willing to saw it for the same price that I would pay a Chinaman ?—A. If I could not get any more. I would get all I could for it, and I would do it well.
By Senator SARGENT:
Q. Would you like it if the Chinamen would do the work for less than you could afford to do it, and leave you without a job ? —A. I would not do as I saw an Irishman do not long ago. He took a job at sawing wood from an anti- Chinaman, and then let out the job to Chinamen and he bossed it. I saw that done, actually.
Q. Suppose the employer would not give you any more than be would give the Chinamen ?—A. Then I would be compelled to do it myself.
Would you like that as well as if the Chinamen were not competing so that you could get a decent price and support your family ?—A. I do not think the Chinamen would compete with me if I were a laboring man.
Q. Do you not think his wages would compete with you if you were a laboring man ?—A. No, sir.
Q. Do you not think he would compete with you ?—A. No, sir; I believe I could enter the field and beat the Chinaman.
Q. Could you beat him rolling cigars?—A. I would not roll cigars; I would do something else.
Q. By your foresight, industry, and brain-power you have got to be a very wealthy man; but do you think that a man without your education and your knowledge could compete as you could against the Chinese ?—A. I never went to school after I was nine years old.
Q. I mean that a man with less of those qualities would be less likely to succeed. Suppose a man has simply that grade of faculties and perceptions which enable him to do common labor instead of becoming an employer. There are many men of that class. If you belonged to that class of men, how then would the competition of Chinamen affect you?—A. I have a better opinion of white men than you have if you think there are a great many of that class. I do not believe there is anybody except a demented fool who is not capable of elevating himself if he has a disposition and a will to do it. I believe those white men who are now occupying low positions in our society here are men who have degraded themselves by their vices; they feed their appetite for liquor and for vicious habits and keep themselves down in that way.
Q. Let me give you an illustration to show you that you do an injustice. There are employed in the hydraulic mines of this State as laborers, miners, under men who own the mines, hundreds, perhaps thousands of white men who work for day's wages. Do you make your remark apply to this large class of men who handle the hose and work in hydraulic mines and work for wages ?—A. I am not familiar with men who work in hydraulic mines. I never was among those mines.
Q. They work for wages year after year, and get regular wages, $2.50 and $3 a day. Your remark does not apply to them about drinking whisky ?—A. I tell you they do not remain there long; they get a start and get into something better.
Q. You are mistaken. For instance, we have labor in my mine that we have had there for a dozen years, and it always is the same class, heads of sober, decent families, whose children go to school. These men are contented with their wages. Suppose we displace them and put Chinamen in their place. Suppose we can get Chinamen for $1.50 a day and turn off the white men, what effect would that have upon them ?—A. If you go to supposing things, I do not know what will occur to these men any more than to any other men; but I believe this, and it is grounded in my experience and from what I have seen here, that the presence of Chinese laborers enables white men to do a better class of Work and get better pay than they would if the Chinamen were not here.
By Mr. [Frank M.] PIXLEY [representing the municipality of San Francisco]:
Q. Do you not mean to qualify it by saying some white men?—A. I mean the majority of white men. I mean all the white men who have got the faculty of getting along in the world.
Q. This is the class of labor that Senator Sargent is calling your attention to ?—A. The Chinamen have not interfered with them.
Q. There is a class of people, we will say, represented by the cigar trade. A young man commences the rolling of cigars, he makes that his pursuit in life clear up to my age or yours, fifty years, say. That is the only occupation he knows, the only business in which he is skilled, the only place for him. He is an unambitious, simple toiler for bread. He has no brain-power; he has muscular power for his business. That class is represented by some 2,000 in this city. Now, then, if the Chinaman comes in and can take that occupation and do better by dextrous finger-manipulation than he can, and at a less price, and turn such a man out of his avocation, what is the result to him and his family and his class ? —A. I believe that a white man is better than a Chinaman. I believe that when the brain of the white man rubs against the brain of the colored man the white man will come out ahead all the time. I believe that the man who is bred in the lap of luxury is not as good a man as he who is bred in the lap of poverty, where his necessities impel him to exertion. When the white man comes in contact with Chinese labor he is impelled to greater exertion and he comes out a better man. I believe that the white man has got more brain than the Chinaman, and when he is driven out of a lower class of labor he will aspire to a better class.
Q. But after he has attained the age that I have suggested, is it not exceedingly doubtful? If he had been a cigar-maker up to fifty years of age and was then crowded out by Chinese, what would he do?—A. If I had always followed the business of cigar-making up to my present age, I do not believe there is any Chinaman who would ever beat me.
Q. Then you would be willing to work for his wages?—A. I would make myself so useful that the man who employed me would rather employ me than Chinamen.
Q. Suppose he could get Chinamen at half the price ?—A. I would beat him then.
Q. It has been proved here that Chinamen will live on somewheres from ten to fifteen cents a day.—A. 0, pshaw! that is all nonsense.
Q. In our State's prison and jails do you know what they pay ? What does it cost per capita to maintain prisoners with meat and bread and coffee ?—A. They are generally let out to some political friend, and he makes a good thing out of it. He supports them, or pretends to support them, at eighteen and nineteen cents a day, I believe; and I guess they count up the heads pretty fast, and count more mouths than they fill. That is my experience in those things.
By Mr. PIPER:
Q. You ascribe a great deal to the energy and brain-power of white men who have succeeded?—A. Yes, sir; and to the white race generally, whether they have succeeded or not.
Q. You are a very rich man, and I am a man supposed to be of an independent fortune. Do you not think the fickle goddess has had something to do in our case, so that it was not owing particularly to our brain-power and energy ?—A. My answer was to Mr. Pixley's question, I do not take such men as you. You have more than the average brainpower, you know.
Q. Do you not think that the fickle goddess has been rather more favorable to us than our success has been owing to our particular brain-power ?—A. I think your own knowledge and capacity have put you where you are. I do not think the fickle goddess has had much to do with you.
Q. And you think the fickle goddess has never had much to do with you ?—A. No; whenever I trust to the fickle goddess I come out behind. I never trust to her at all. I go on my own hook.
By the CHAIRMAN:
Q. I understood you to advance the opinion that there was no danger of a very great influx of Chinamen so as to overrun the country ?—A. From my observation since I have been in California, I believe that the supply and demand is regulated just as all other things are regulated. I believe that if they are let alone the demand will regulate the supply. You may get a few more Chinamen at one time, but they will stop coming here when it is not profitable for them to come; and I think it is not profitable for them to come when they have to live on twenty cents a day, and they would not come here under such circumstances.
Q. Is the number of Chinamen in the proportion to the number of white people in California any greater now than it was ten years ago ?—A. No, sir; it is less, much less, in proportion to the white population.
Q. You think, then, that the growth of the white population, in proportion, has gone beyond the growth of the Chinese population ?—A. Yes, sir; I believe that the statistics will prove that there were more Chinamen here in 1863 than there are now. There are at least 150,000 more white people here now than there were then. I do not know but that this moment there may be more Chinamen here than there were in 1863, but I think last year there were not any more.
Q. Comparing the Chinese population of to-day with the white population of to-day, is the proportion greater or less than the two populations in 1860 ?—A. I think that there is a less proportion of Chinamen to white men now than there was in 1860.
Q. As you understand it, the increase of Chinamen has not kept pace with the increase of white population in the last ten years? —A. 0, no, sir; I do not think it has.
By Mr. PIXLEY:
Q. Looking to the ultimate and final development of our State, do you favor Chinese immigration as against the immigration of western Europe and our eastern States?—A. 0, Lord! No, sir. Understand me that I want to be on the record as saying that the white immigrant is worth more to the country than any other.
Q. Why is the white immigrant worth more to the country ?—A. Because he can become a member of our institutions and be a white man among white men.
Q. Do you think that our civilization, our morals and religion, and every thing, are superior to those of the Chinese ?—A. As to that I am not quite so sure whether our civilization is any better than theirs or not. I rather think our civilization is not as good as theirs. I think an American going to China stands a better show for justice than a Chinaman coming to America.
By Senator SARGENT:
Q. Do you not know that we have to organize our own courts there to protect our citizens; that we do not allow American citizens to be tried in Chinese courts ?—A. I do not know why it is done, but I know it is done. I know that we would never consent to let the Chinese have a court here and try Chinamen by it.
By Mr. PIXLEY:
You regard our Chinese immigration as a temporary expedient, immediately useful and necessary, but in the ultimate future of the State not as desirable as other immigrants ?—A. I do not think that the Chinese immigration prevents white immigration from coining here at all. I think, on the contrary, it helps it.
Q. Would you have it grow apace with our immigration ?—A. Yes sir. I think we have got space enough in the State of California alone for twelve or fifteen millions of people, and if we had twelve millions of white men, a million of Chinamen would not come amiss to do our laboring work, and the State would be more prosperous for their presence.
By Mr. PIPER:
Q. I see that you have no prejudice about this matter ?—A. No, not a bit. If there is any one who loves California, it is me. I can prove that I have stuck by old California. I love California, and I love its people.
Q. Do you not believe that it is better for all of us that our population should be homogeneous rather than heterogeneous? I mean, so far as white people are concerned, would it not be better for all of us, in the permanent future prosperity of the State, that we should be a homogeneous people, that is, people of one race ?—A. What do you call homogeneous? Do you call a Dutchman, an Irishman, and an American homogeneous ?
Q. Yes; all of the white race.—A. I do not think they are homogeneous very well. A homogeneous population is better than a heterogeneous population; there is no doubt of it.
Q. You believe that it would be better for the present and future prosperity of the State of California to have a homogeneous population ?—A. Now, do not make me contradict myself. I say here, and I have said it repeatedly that I believe the material prosperity of this State will be advanced by the presence of the Chinese labor, in the proportion of one to ten. If you ask me whether I would rather live in a community which is homogeneous with myself, I say, of course I would rather live in that community.
Q. It is a very simple question to answer, yes or no. Then you think you would prefer a homogeneous population in this State ?—A. In the sense that I have spoken of it, I would.
By the CHAIRMAN:
Q. Do you remember what the entire population of the State was in 1860 ?—A. I am not very good at carrying figures in my head.
Q. Take the white population ?—A. I think that it was in the neighborhood of 600,000; but I am not good at remembering figures.
Q. You were asked if you did not sell out your interest in the railroad at a certain time for a certain reason. Do you desire to give the reason ?—A. I sold out because I was threatened with the same disease that my brother died with—that is, softening of the brain. I was working very hard, had been working for a number of years very hard, and I had some symptoms which my physician, who was the same physician who attended my brother, said betokened the same disease, if I prosecuted my business with energy and close application as I was doing. I thought my health was better than all the money in the world, and I said to my associates, "I am going to quit. I am going away. I do not want you to work for me while I am gone, and I will sell." I sold at a very great sacrifice. I was gone two years. I came back, and they very generously said, "Consider this a two years' leave of absence and come right back." I did so. There was no other reason under heaven why I went away, and no other reason why I came back. I came back restored in health. I felt as strong for work as I ever did in my life, and I went to work, and am working now. I am very sorry that I came back into the road, however. I think I had better have staid out.
By Senator COOPER:
Q. There is great prejudice in this State against the Chinese?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. By a large element of the white population ?—A. As I stated, I do not think that it is a very large element. I think it is a very active element. I think that if there was a good square vote on the proposition, Chinese or anti-Chinese, down to property-owners of three or four hundred dollars' value of freehold, eight-tenths of them would vote for the Chinamen.
Q. That prejudice works to the injury now of the Chinamen ?—A. Yes, sir; they are insulted, and you see it done in every place you go. For instance, yesterday I saw a boy jerk a Chinaman out of a seat in a railroad-car, which he took himself; and he did it in such a way that he would not have dared to have done it to a white person. All that sort of thing is done. It was a boy who did it.
Q. Do you think that would be approved by a majority of your people? —A. No, sir; I do not.
Q: Do you think it would be just to hold a majority of them responsible for it?—A. I do not think a great majority of the people of California justify any such conduct.
Q. It would be wrong to hold a majority of them responsible for such treatment?—A. I think we are responsible for it, because we do not correct it.
Q. Would you think it right to say that a majority of your people favor it because they permit it?—A. It would be pretty hard to say that. I do not want to say that against California.
Q. Then you would not say that ?—A. I do not believe that a majority of the people justify this oppression of the Chinamen.
Q. What remedy would you suggest to remove the ill-treatment of the Chinamen?—A. I would punish those who ill-treat them.
Q. Does that ill treatment occur now ?—A. There has not been so much of it recently as there was about six months ago.
Q. Because of punishment to those who did it?—A. No; I think the excitement that was fanning into a flame at that time has died away, and that there is no particular incentive now. I think there is a class of lawless people in the community who, when there is an exciting cause, do these things, which they would not do if they were not excited by class-prejudice.
Q. What would you say was the exciting cause?—A. The political agitations that were taking place here.
Q. If you gave them the ballot would it not remedy that ill-treatment ?—A. I think it would.
Q. About as soon as anything else; would it not ?—A. Yes; I think there would be no trouble; but I do not wish to be put down on the record, however, as in favor of the Chinese voting.
Q. You do not want to restore peace in that way, then ?—A. No.
By Mr. PIXLEY:
Do you give it as your opinion that a majority of the intelligent and disinterested popular opinion of this State is in favor of the influx of Chinese ?—A. To a moderate extent I do; about the extent that I spoke about.
Q. From your large circle of acquaintances name off a list of gentlemen, who are disinterested and do not make any money out of them who favor an influx of Chinese?—A. I could make out such a list if I had leisure, but I cannot sit here and call it right off.
Q. Think of one prominent name.—A. It is so difficult to tell who are interested in your sense of the word. In other words, I do not believe there is anybody who is not interested more or less in Chinese labor.
Q. Are you not rather reflecting the sentiment of those people whose material interests are advanced and promoted by the Chinese being here?—A. I believe that the material interests of eight-tenths of the people of the State of California are enhanced by the presence of the Chinese.
Q. I speak of those who are directly interested?—A. They are all pretty much directly interested. Whoever makes the country prosperous is interesting to every citizen who is ambitious.
JAMES H. STROBRIDGE sworn and examined. [Complete Testimony, pp. 723-728.]
By Mr. BEE
Question. How long have you been a resident of this State?-Answer. Twenty-seven years.
Q. You have been engaged in the direction of railroad-building for how many years?—A. More or less for the last fifteen years.
Q. You had charge of the work, did you not, pretty much, of the whole Central Pacific Railroad?—A. I was superintendent of construction.
Q. That gave you the supervision of all the labor on the road?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. How did you commence that road?—A. We commenced it with white men.
Q. Did you change to any other ?—A. Yes; we changed to Chinamen. I advertised extensively for men, wanted several thousand, and was never able to get over 700 or 800 white men at one time. We increased finally to 10,000. A large number of men would go on to the work under those advertisements; but they were unsteady men, unreliable. Some of them would stay a few days, and some would not go to work at all. Some would stay until pay-day, get a little money, get drunk, and clear out. Finally, we resorted to Chinamen. I was very much prejudiced against Chinese labor. I did not believe we could make a success of it. I believe Chinese labor in this country on that kind of work never had been made a success until we put them on there; but we did make a success of them. We worked a great many of them, and built the road virtually with Chinamen, though the white labor increased very much after introducing Chinese labor. We made foremen of the most intelligent of the white men, teamsters, and hostlers. We increased, I suppose, to 2,000 or 2,500 white men. At that time we were working fully 10,000 Chinamen.
Q. Then you changed your views in reference to the Chinese as laborers ?—A. Very much.
Q. How did you find them to compare in that heavy work on the Sierra Nevada, tunnels, deep cuts, and rock works, with the white labor you had ?—A. They were equal to the white men.
Q. They were equal to them ?—A. Yes.
Q. You had tests occasionally made there, as I read at the time, in the newspapers, between white labor and the Chinese?—A. Yes.
Q. Who generally came out ahead ?—A. When they were working on a strife, as they did sometimes, if there was any difference it was with, the white men; but the key of the situation was the Summit Tunnel, which was very hard rock, and we undertook to stock that with the best of white men. We considered them to be at that time superior to Chinamen. But we were unable to keep the work filled with white men, although we only worked eight hours. We worked in eight-hour shifts, and as we could not keep the work favorable, we put in a gang of Chinamen. Finally, before the work was half done, perhaps, I do not recollect at what stage, the Chinamen had possession of the whole work. At last the white men swore they would not work with Chinamen anyhow.
Q. In that particular tunnel, or all along?—A. In that particular tunnel, not on the other work. We always had gangs of white men. We employed all the white men we could get so long as they would work.
Q. Would you always give white men labor who asked for it ?—A. I do not think there was ever a white man turned away for want of a place, to my knowledge.
Q. The Chinamen became expert railroad-builders ?—A. The Chinamen were good laborers.
Q. You found them reliable and honest ?—A. 0, yes; as much so as other people; much more reliable; they would not get drunk and go away as white men.
Q. Whom did you pay their wages to ?—A. They were furnished to us by different companies, sometimes Chinamen, sometimes white men. We had different companies at that time of white men. We had a man by the name of Sisson and a man by the name of Wallace. Afterward they consolidated and made the firm of Sisson, Wallace & Co. Latterly they furnished pretty much all the Chinamen that we worked.
Q. Were you familiar with the construction of the Union Pacific at the same time?—A. Only by hearsay.
Q. Did you hear that they had strikes upon that road repeatedly ?—A. We saw accounts in the papers of their having difficulties with the men.
Q. Do you recollect that they seized Mr. Durant and imprisoned him ? —A. I recollect waiting at the promontory for him to lay the last rail, when it was represented that that was the cause of his absence.
Q. Do you know whether the class of laborers who constructed that road settled along the line and built up farms to any considerable extent?—A. I am not familiar with it.
By Senator SARGENT:
Q. Was that seizing of Mr. Durant because their wages were unpaid ? —A. I think so; that was so reported.
Q. There would likely be some commotion among Chinaman if their wages were not paid ?—A. I never had any difficulty in that respect.
Q. The tendency was to show that white men make disturbances. You say you remember that you were detained in laying the last rail by the absence of Mr. Durant, and you understood he was kept by white men, and you say that was because their wages were unpaid. I would like to ask you if the same would not be true of the Chinese? If their wages were not paid they would not like it very well ?—A. That would naturally delay any man. We never were delayed in consequence of that.
Q. You always paid them their wages?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Therefore you had no occasion to be caught ?—A. Sometimes we did not pay for two months and perhaps more.
Q. Did you find the Chinamen that you employed unreliable?—A. Some of them.
Q. As a rule, were not the white men faithful and steady workmen who built your bridges ?—A. Of course; they were, mechanics.
Q. Did they not do their work steadily and well ?—A. Mechanics are almost always steady men.
Q. That is, if they are white?—A. I believe they are all white.
Q. And you found them regular, steady men ?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. You employed the Chinamen mostly in digging; working with the shovel and pick?—A. Yes, sir; blasting rock and all sorts of work.
Q. And you employed the white men in driving teams ?—A. In driving teams and as hostlers.
Q. Were they steady in that employment?—A. They were not.
Q. As a rule ?—A. As a rule they were not.
Q. Then as a rule your teams were not driven steadily ?—A. We had a great many steady teamsters and a great many unsteady ones; and then the white men who worked in the pit were generally unsteady. The higher classes, the mechanics, were steady men almost universally.
Q. What do you mean by men who work in the pits ?—A. Men digging.
Q. Beside the Chinamen ?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. I was directing your attention to the teamsters. As a rule, were your teamsters unsteady ?—A. Rather.
Q. Then your teaming was unsteadily done?—A. We generally kept a surplus of teamsters on hand.
Q. Did you pay unemployed teamsters ?—A. No, sir.
Q. Then what do you mean by keeping a surplus on hand?—A. We kept them at something else.
Q. At what else ?—A. We put them to work in the stable, or we would put them to work with the carpenters—something or other—until we wanted them. We did the same way with the foremen; much of the time we had a dozen foremen on hand at a time. Our foremen were very unsteady. Eight-tenths of the foremen used in that work were taken from the pits, from shovelers and from drillers. The most reliable men we had in that class we took and made foremen of them.
Q. Your experience then is with white American labor ?—A. We had very few American teamsters and carpenters.
Q. Your experience then of white labor gives you rather a contemptuous opinion of it ?—A. Not a contemptuous opinion.
Q. It is unsteady, unreliable, cannot be depended upon ?—A. In a measure. The class of men who go upon public works are rather unsteady men.
Q. Have you ever had anything to do with such works anywhere else except in California ?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you find the same thing elsewhere ?—A. Yes, sir; I was the foreman of the Vermont Central at the time that was built.
Q. Do you find it about the same there as here ?—A. I think they were more riotous there than here.
Q. Then the advantage is rather in favor of California labor ?—A. We had not so many of them here as in the Vermont Central, for they were, of course, all white men there.
Q. So that a person familiar with such works and the peculiarities of the labor throughout the Eastern and Western States can judge what you say to the disadvantage of California labor of that kind by the remark that it is about the same there as here. Is that correct ?—A. I never have done any work in the Western States, but in the Eastern States, in New England, there is not much difference, taking that class of labor.
Q. It is about the same thing?—A. Yes; for that class of labor.
Q. Does not your preference to Chinese labor arise from two causes: first, that they are more docile, have less will of their own against their bosses; and, second, that they are much cheaper ?—A. With white men seldom any difficulty occurs on the work. The difficulty in working white men on public works is when they are off from the work.
Q. That is not an answer to my question. I ask you whether your preference to Chinese labor does not spring from the two causes that I have mentioned, that they are more docile, have less will of their own against those who work them, and that they are much cheaper ?—A. I started to say that I do not think the Chinese are any more docile than white-men. While at work very seldom any difficulty occurs with the white men; but the difficulty with white men is when they are off of work. For instance, after they have been paid they will get drunk. That is when the trouble comes with them. The whites are as docile men as can be desired on work. They are so here and were on the Central Pacific; I would not want any more so.
Q. Does it amount to a general rule that when the white men were paid they got drunk ?—A. In that class of men, as a general rule, they do.
Q. And the men you employed as teamsters, aside from the mechanics who built your bridges, as a general rule got drunk when you paid them off ?—A. Yes, Sir; seven-tenths of them.
Q. Is that the rule also in the other States where your experience goes?—A. It was the rule there also.
Q. Seven-tenths of them there?—A. I think so, fully.
Q. And they got drunk, so as to make a disturbance and be offensive ?—A. Yes, Sir; boisterous.
Q. Then you bring in another element why you prefer the Chinese. Do you exclude the two I have mentioned, that they go where they are directed and do just what they are told rather more than Americans, and that they are much cheaper ?—A. No, Sir; the white men on our work were willing to go wherever we desired them to go, and we never had any difficulty with them in that respect.
Q. Then your two preferences to Chinese are that they do not get drunk and that they work a good deal cheaper ?—A. They are cheaper. With regard to white men and Chinamen here we had no difficulty in getting white men to go on to any work, rock-work or anything else, while, on the other hand, with Chinamen we had a great deal of difficulty to get them to go on to rock, and to do much hard work, because they were not accustomed to it.
Q. Did you hear the testimony of the previous witness, that the Chinamen do hard work and the white men complain and will not do it ?—A. I heard it.
Q. Your testimony is opposite?—A. The white men we had on the work went willingly where we wanted them. A great many white men would not remain; sometimes one fault and sometimes another; they did not feel well enough. There was always complaint when they did not want to work. When they wanted to work we had no difficulty with them.
Q. There is no real cause of complaint, so far as the Chinese are concerned, of their labor or any other characteristic so far as you know ?—A. With regard to their work on the public work, I never had any difficulty with them.
Q. You are perfectly satisfied with the Chinese as laborers in every respect?—A. No; I am not perfectly satisfied. We get along with them with very little difficulty.
Q. It you are not perfectly satisfied with them what is your objection ?—A. If they had done a great deal more work than they did I would have been better satisfied.
Q. On more wages ?—A. When I was contractor myself I frequently had to pay them more wages than I liked to.
Q. Your criticism, then, is that they did not do as much work as you wanted them to do, and they wanted more money for it ?—A. I had fault to find with them in that, respect particularly.
Q. Were you a contractor or merely director ?—A. On that work I was a director.
Q. You were working for wages?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. What wages did you get? I only ask by way of comparison.—A. When I went to work for them I got one hundred and twenty-five dollars a month, and afterwards they paid more.
Q. Afterwards how much ?—A. If that is what I am here for I will tell all my private affairs.
Q. Not at all, if you feel the slightest hesitation.—A. I would prefer not to answer the question. It is a private matter.
Q. I was only going to ask whether you thought you were paid too much ?—A. Yes, sir; I think I was.
Q. You took it, however ?—A. I told Mr. Crocker sometimes when I was sick it was more than I earned.
Q. When you were well was it too much ?—A. I think I earned all I took then.
By Mr. PIXLEY:
Q. You never struck for lower wages ?—A. No, nor higher either.
Q. You received much more pay during part of that time than the others did ?—A. I think so.
Q. Still you would like to have the others working for you to work for still less than you were receiving?—A. Did I say that? While I was working for them I never thought we paid them too much, but since then on some contract work I thought I paid Chinamen more than they earned, or rather more than they ought to have had. I do not know but they earned their money, however. Men generally earn their money when they work for me.
Q. So that one difficulty in getting white labor was that you wanted to pay Chinese wages ? If a man wanted to contract for work you wanted him to do the work at exactly what a Chinaman would do it for?—A. We didn't have any contract.
Q. You wanted the white men to work for what the Chinamen worked for?—A. We always paid liberal wages, When we paid Chinamen twenty-six dollars a month and they boarded themselves we paid the white men thirty dollars a month and boarded them.
Q. For working in the pit ?—A. Yes, sir. We afterwards paid the Chinamen thirty dollars and the white men thirty-five dollars. Our track-layers were almost always white men.
By Mr. PIPER:
Q. If you could get white men for the same price per them that you can get Chinamen for, would you or would you not prefer the white men ?—A. In large bodies I think the Chinamen would be preferable.
Q. Owing to the facility with which you use them ?—A. We have less difficulty with them.
By the CHAIRMAN:
Q. Which would you prefer ?—A. Chinamen in large bodies. It is a difficult matter to control white men in large bodies after pay-day.
By Mr. PIPER:
Q. They go on a spree, I suppose ?—A. They go on a spree.
Q. Independent of that would you not much prefer them ?—A. I would.
Q. About what percentage more does a good fair white laborer do than a good fair Chinaman ?—A. There is, very little difference. If you take a gang of twenty or thirty white men together and a gang of twenty or thirty Chinamen there is not much difference when they are well handled.
Q. And really their labor is about thirty-three per cent. cheaper to the contractor than the white labor?—A. It is much cheaper. Their board is an important consideration.