The House having under consideration the bill (H. R. 3687) to amend an act entitled "An act to prohibit the coming of Chinese persons into the United States,'' approved May 5, 1892
Mr. MAGUIRE said:
Mr. Speaker: The measure now before this House is of tremendous importance to the Pacific coast, especially to the State of California. More than one-third of all the Chinese inhabitants of the United States are located in the city of San Francisco, most, of them in the district which I have the honor to represent. I shall not attempt to go over in detail all of the grounds upon which the people of California object to Chinese immigration and upon which they object to restoring the privilege of residing in this country to the Chinese, who by their own defiance of our laws have forfeited that privilege.
This task has been most fully and ably performed by my distinguished colleague from California [Mr. GEARY]. To him more than to any other man has the great West looked for the defense of its interests in this contest; and it gives me pleasure to testify that in his effort their expectations have been, fully and splendidly realized. If anything was wanting to complete his defense of our position it was furnished in the masterly and thorough argument of the gentleman from New York [Mr. BARTLETT]. But there are some phases of the Chinese question which have not yet been discussed as I think they should be, and to them I will devote my time.
I am opposed to the extension of the period of registration for the Chinese, and I base my opposition upon a love of humanity as broad and as deep and as strong as that which animates the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. MORSE] in his mistaken zeal for the improvement of Chinese civilization and the salvation of Chinese souls. I have no prejudice against the Chinese people, no desire to injure them nor to see them injured or oppressed. It is in no spirit of harshness or unkindness to the Chinese that I oppose their immigration to, and their residence in, our country. I base my opposition upon my love for our Caucasian civilization, upon my love for the glorious institutions of liberty, equality, and justice which constitute the crowning glory of my country, and to the defense, support, and promotion of which the life and property and sacred honor of every true American are constantly pledged and dedicated.
I stand upon the universal, God-given right of self-defense, which belongs to communities and to nations, as well as to individuals, and I insist upon the right and the duty of self-defense for our civilization, which is the soul of our national life, as fully as the right and duty of self-defense against armed assailants of our physical autonomy is recognized.
From the dark ages of universal tyranny and slavery, through centuries scarred by the agonies and stained with the blood and tears of God's noblest children, our civilization has been evolved, and eternal vigilance is the price of its preservation.
Those scarred and blood-stained centuries represent the gulf between our civilization and the semibarbarism of China. Can these civilizations be mingled, with advantage to the lower and no harm to the higher? That is the theory of the Eastern philanthropists, but it is directly contrary to the knowledge which the evidence of actual experience has given to the West. That experience has demonstrated that, in meeting and mingling, the higher civilization loses a hundred fold more than, the inferior gains.
On the abstract question of philanthropy we are not far separated from our Eastern brethren, but, as they see the Chinese problem only in the abstract, they are in no such position as that which we occupy, to balance and compare the advantages and disadvantages of Chinese immigration to the cause of humanity and civilization. The wide difference of sentiment between the East and the West on the Chinese question is not due to any fundamental difference in our principles; it is due to the difference between our tolerably complete knowledge of the question and your imperfect knowledge of it. You see the hardships imposed by our Federal laws upon the Chinese, and your sympathies go out to them because you do not see the other side of the picture. We see the oppression, misery, degradation, and slavery to which our own laborers are reduced as a direct result of Chinese immigration. We see that the imported Chinese coolies are mere agencies in the hands of monopolists—domestic and foreign—by which our own people are gradually reduced to a condition of wretchedness approximating to the social condition of the Chinese slaves, and without the slightest feeling of malice against the unfortunate Chinamen we demand their exclusion and their deportation as necessary measures of defense to our own people.
The bitter attacks which have been made upon the Geary law in the press and in the pulpit, and upon the floor of this House, are without foundation and unjustifiable. That law was not, in any sense, harsh. It was mild and humane. It was not a deportation law, but a registration law. Under its terms no Chinaman lawfully in this country at the time of its passage was to be deported, provided that he should, at any time within one year after its passage, make up his mind to abide and obey its simple, easy, and convenient requirements. Every Chinaman was permitted to determine for himself whether he would comply with the law or submit to deportation as an alternative, and he was given a whole year within which to make up his mind on that question.
That regulation can scarcely be distinguished from the passport system established and enforced by nearly all of the great civilized nations. The wisdom of such laws among highly civilized nations has been questioned: but the obligation of a citizen of one country, going into the territory of another, to respect the passport laws of that country has never been questioned before.
The gentleman from Kentucky [Mr. MCCREARY] explains their failure to register by saying that they were advised by their employers and friends and by the lawyers whom they consulted that the regulations thus made by Congress were unconstitutional, and, relying upon that advice, they refused to comply with the law.
The McCreary bill, now under consideration, is practically an act to relieve them from the consequences of their violation of the Geary law on the ground that they were misled in the matter by the advice of their lawyers. Now, sir, it is a matter of general knowledge, wherever the Chinese live in any numbers, that no Chinaman who refused to register was animated by any motive or judgment arising within himself, but was absolutely controlled and directed in his violation of our law by an edict issued by a combination of Chinese slave-owners known as the "Six Companies."
It is a matter of common knowledge, sir, that nearly all of the Chinese laborers in this country have been imported practically as slaves, and are owned, at least for the time of their residence here, by these six importing Chinese companies. It is also a matter of common knowledge on the Pacific coast, and it can be easily proved to the satisfaction of any man upon this floor, that these companies have been constantly engaged in the fraudulent importation of Chinamen into this country during the whole period of our legal restriction and exclusion, in defiance of our laws. Sufficient evidence of this is to be found in the report of the select committee on immigration and naturalization, sent by this House to the Pacific coast in March, 1891, to investigate questions arising under the Scott exclusion act.
The testimony accompanying this report shows that, in spite of the exclusion acts that had been passed prior to that time, Chinese were being smuggled in over the British Columbian and the Mexican borders of the Pacific coast States and Territories constantly.
What was the motive of the Six Companies in opposing registration? It was, plainly and clearly, their purpose to prevent the authorities of this country from providing any satisfactory means of identifying the fraudulently imported coolies whom they were bringing in. A great and lucrative part of the business of the Six Companies will be destroyed the very moment that a means of absolute identification of those who have a right to be here is established. It is impossible, owing to the absolute disregard of truth among the Chinese, and the cunning and skill displayed by them in all their evasions of our laws, to make proof by parol to the satisfaction of any court, of the fraudulency of any substantial part of the illegal importations thus effected.
As long as the Six Companies can prevent us from making satisfactory rules for the identification of those who have a right to reside here, and consequently a means of identifying those who come in fraudulently, their trade will flourish, their importations will continue, and they will grow rich by persistent violations of our laws. They issued their edicts forbidding the Chinese to register, and those who dared to defy our laws dared not defy the laws and the judicial institutions existing in this country among the Chinese, and to which they submit with absolute and unquestioning obedience. They did not refuse to register because of any personal objection that the individual Chinaman had to registering. They refused to register because they feared the iron bars and the pistols of the "highbinders," who threatened to mete out Chinese justice to those who would comply with our law, far more than they feared any law or institution of this country.
In the city of San Francisco where I reside, and within the district which I represent, there are, and have been for twenty years, secret Chinese tribunals, dealing with offenses against the regulations of the Six Companies, dealing with offenses and obligations arising between Chinamen, and executing their Chinese edicts with a rigor and a harshness unknown to the execution of any law ever made by the regular lawmakers of this country; aye, often executing the death penalty with a certainty and a ferociousness which makes the individual Chinaman fear and obey them, and which d lives him back into his contractual slavery in spite of our constitutional and statutory guaranties of individual liberty. They know no liberty. Though they are in a land where personal liberty is guaranteed by the Constitution and the laws, they dare not demand the legal rights given them by our institutions.
Compliance with the Geary law was easy. Compliance with it would have secured to those lawfully within our borders the right to reside here just as long as they might desire. But the willful refusal to comply with its provisions imposed certain clearly defined consequences which they have chosen to take rather than to register. In obedience to the decrees of an alien institution in this country, and of alien laws—an Asiatic form of government within our Government—more rigorous and more effective than our laws, they have chosen deportation as a consequence of their refusal to register. That consequence does not flow from our action. It flows from their choice, deliberately made, upon a full year's consideration.
The gentleman from Kentucky [Mr. MCCREARY] in attempting to show that the enforcement of this law against the Chinese would be a disgrace to our civilization, said that no other nation had done anything that would compare in infamy with our purpose of deporting eighty-five thousand Chinese residents of this country and sending them to the home from which they came, to the country to which they still owe allegiance, to the country to which they look for protection, and through whose ministers they now appeal for every claim of right which they assert under our treaties or our laws.
Mr. MAGUIRE. I do not think I did.
Mr. McCREARY of Kentucky. I want to state wherein I think the gentleman misrepresented me—not intentionally, of course. I voted for the Geary act; I was in favor of its enforcement. One year having elapsed, I think under the circumstances, as the Chinese were misled by the opinions of their attorneys, they ought to have six months more in which to register. If that is what the gentleman represented me as saying (for I was not in the Hall when he made the remark) then he represented me correctly.
The gentleman from Kentucky in speaking of our enforcing the Geary law at this time, according to the conditions which that law and the subsequent action of the Chinese people have created, and deporting 85,000 Chinamen now domiciled here, remarked that such a course would disgrace our civilization, and would involve a violation of the rights of humanity, such as no other nation has ever committed. That I understand to be his statement.
Mr. McCREARY of Kentucky. I said in substance (my speech is printed) that if we should now undertake to deport 85,000 Chinese who were misled by their attorneys, and who in my opinion desire now to register, it would be an act the like of which we could not find in modern times.
Mr. MAGUIRE. Now I say there is no self-respecting nation in the world that does not, when its passport laws have been wilfully and persistently violated, expel the alien who refuses to comply with those laws. I say that citizens of foreign countries who visit the most highly civilized nations of Europe must show their passports, must show their right to be in the country, or they must get out, if the laws require a passport. And this is an answer to the much-heralded claim that in the enforcement of the Geary act we require a Chinaman to prove his innocence, and put the burden of proof upon him for that purpose.
Mr. MCCREARY of Kentucky. Will the gentleman allow me to ask him one question?
Mr. MAGUIRE. Yes, sir.
Mr. MAGUIRE. You mean in exact provisions?
Mr. MCCREARY of Kentucky. Yes, sir.
Mr. MAGUIRE. I do not know of any provisions in precisely the same terms. The Australian colonies have adopted a system very like ours for their protection. My colleague [Mr. GEARY] informs me that France has such a registration law applying to all aliens.
Mr. MCCREARY of Kentucky. Does the gentleman say that France has any such law operating on any class of people going to France as we have to-day in operation against the Chinese the law known as the Geary law? I believe no man can say that such is the fact.
Mr. MAGUIRE. My information is furnished by my colleague [Mr. GEARY], who will answer the gentleman's question.
Mr. MCCREARY of Kentucky. Is there in France any law compelling any man going there to register and prove his residence and providing that he shall be presumed to be guilty of not having a residence in the country unless he shows the contrary?
Mr. GEARY. My colleague [Mr. MAGUIRE] yields for a moment that I may answer the gentleman. France has a law requiring that all aliens coming within her borders for the purpose of engaging in trade shall register and take out a certificate; and penalties are attached to the violation of that law, just as we attach penalties to the violation of our laws. There is nothing new about such a provision. Mexico had such a law, up to 1867, requiring all aliens within her borders to register; and when this Government made demand upon Mexico for redress of injuries inflicted on Americans in that country the answer made by the Mexican minister was that the persons claimed to have been injured were not registered, and, therefore the Mexican Government was not responsible for any injury inflicted upon them. A law exactly similar to this was passed by England under George III on three different occasions, and I can not find any record of its ever having been repealed.
Mr. MCCREARY of Kentucky. Did they have to prove residence?
Mr. GEARY. No; but
the absence of the certificate is a sufficient proof to the contrary.
We do not make a man who takes out a license to sell liquor prove his
residence; but we say his business shall not be continued unless he
exhibits the certificate to the proper authorities.
of Kentucky. Would it be presumed if you were arrested in France that
you were guilty until you proved yourself innocent?
Mr. GEARY. My friend can find an answer to that in the practice of our courts.
Mr. MCCREARY of Kentucky. I am not talking of the practice of the courts, but of France.
Mr. GEARY. Well, I did not have an opportunity of visiting France in the capacity of my friend. I presume he was allowed to go without it and not required to make proof either. [Laughter.]
Mr. MAGUIRE. The gentleman from Kentucky is exercised perhaps because he was not asked to register over there.
Now, Mr. Speaker, there is an apparent harshness in the statement that a man charged with an offense must prove his innocence—that there is a presumption of guilt if a man is charged with refusing or failing to comply with the law. If a Chinaman is unjustly charged with violating the registry provision of the Geary law, he is himself necessarily possessed, not only of the knowledge, but of the exclusive evidence of his right to reside in this country. Why should he not be required to produce it just as I would be compelled to produce my passport if I should visit France or Germany.
A demand for the passport of an alien is not a trial for crime. While a violation of the registry provision of the Geary act involves a forfeiture of the violator's privilege of residing in this country, it is not a crime in itself.
The Geary law simply provides, substantially, that no Chinese person is presumed to have a right to be in this country unless he has the certificate which the law requires him to take out. That is made the sole evidence of his right to be in this country. It is made at once the exclusive and the conclusive evidence of that right. When he is charged with being here unlawfully and says: I am here lawfully, the court says, produce your certificate; That is the affirmative proof of innocence about which these gentlemen have been talking—simply that and nothing more. He carries in his pocket, under the law, the exclusive evidence of his right to be here, if he has a right to be here, and the law simply requires that he shall put his hand in his pocket and produce that exclusive evidence of his right when it is demanded.
Mr. BOWERS of California. Just the same as you would have to do when you went to Europe.
Mr. MAGUIRE. It is as my friend suggests, as if I went to France, not as a commissioner of finance but as a common citizen of this country, I would be required to exhibit my passport whenever requested to do so by a proper officer. I would be asked to prove my right to be there and would have to produce my passport, just as the Geary law requires the Chinaman to produce his passport—certificate of registration—which is the exclusive evidence of his right to be and to remain in this country.
Now, Mr. Speaker, the immigration of Chinese to this country and the residence of Chinese amongst us has been to us a curse and a blight. The Pacific coast has felt this, of course, more deeply than any other part of the country. The Pacific coast receives them. Nine-tenths of the Chinamen coming to this country have been sifted through San Francisco. They have been, to some extent, filtered through the rest of the country, but the great burden of all the incubus and of all the hardships resulting from Chinese immigration have fallen on the Pacific coast States and Territories.
Mr. MAGUIRE. In the district which I represent there is a vastly greater number of adult Chinese male population than of adult males of the Caucasian race, citizens and aliens combined. That is the situation there. That was true of the whole city of San Francisco, according to the statistics, until quite recently. I believe it to be the condition in San Francisco now. I believe the census returns of Chinese population in San Francisco to be wholly and grossly inaccurate.
I do not impute any fault to the census bureau in the matter. It is simply impossible to get an accurate return of Chinese population without their active cooperation. Ever since 1880 they have had a strong motive for concealing their numbers, and I believe they have done so.
Mr. MAGUIRE. In 1879.
Mr. WEADOCK. Was not the result of that vote 150,000 against admitting the Chinese to 600 in favor of it?
Mr. MAGUIRE. One hundred and fifty-four thousand in opposition to their immigration and 883 in favor of it, if my memory serves me right.
Mr. WEADOCK. One hundred and fifty-four thousand against Chinese immigration?
Mr. MAGUIRE. Yes, sir.
Now, Mr. Speaker, from the social standpoint, from the moral standpoint, from the sanitary standpoint, from the industrial standpoint, Chinese immigration has been a curse and a blight upon the fairest portion of this great land of ours for thirty years. California is the garden spot of the American Union and she has been well nigh reduced to the level of a Chinese colony. The exclusion acts have happily, preserved her from that fate, but the exclusion accomplished by those laws has not been by any means complete or perfect.
The Geary law has vastly simplified the enforcement of exclusion, and although little has been done to carry out its purpose, our people look with dread upon the threatened surrender of any of its advantages.
I believe that the Treasury Department has, from the beginning, done its duty fairly; that it has recognize a law regularly enacted by this Congress as a sacred thing, which it is the duty of the executive department of this Government to enforce until it is repealed.
But there has been great complaint, and just cause for complaint, on account of the course pursued by the Department of Justice of the present Administration. That, perhaps, has been sufficiently discussed by my colleague [Mr. GEARY], and in the letter read by my colleague [Mr. BOWERS of California], addressed by Judge Ross of that State to the Attorney-General of the United States. Why did not the Department of Justice proceed with deportations to the extent of the means at its disposal? Why did it not deport the two Chinamen who were remanded by the United States Supreme Court for deportation in the test case? If the reason has been communicated to any member of this House I would like to hear it.
There are thousands of professional Chinese criminals, known as highbinders, in this country, hundreds of whom were pirates in China. Banished from that country they came to our shores, to burglarize our houses and to swell the ranks of the overstocked highbinder societies here.
A large proportion of these wretches are now subject to deportation for failing to register under the Geary act, and one of the worst features of the McCreary bill is that it will restore to them the privilege of remaining in this country.
Mr. MAGUIRE. A highbinder is just what the gentleman from New York [Mr. BARTLETT] described him to be. A highbinder is a professional blackmailer and murderer, a man whose business it is to levy tribute upon the industrious people of his race, and upon the fallen women of his race, and who in case of denial to himself or to his society, will enforce the payment of that tribute by violence and murder in the most brutal and revolting forms.
Mr. MAGUIRE. Chinamen entirely. Do you mean to ask if the highbinders assault white people?
Mr. BRETZ. Yes.
Mr. MAGUIRE. Not in San Francisco, just yet.
In this behalf, it is probable that they are more strongly influenced by the fear of what the white people would do than by moral considerations. A Chinaman who will murder another Chinaman for money would probably not be restrained from murdering white men by conscientious scruples alone.
Now, sir, immediately after the decision rendered by the Supreme Court of the United States, affirming the validity of the Geary act, and establishing its constitutionality, the chief of police of the city of San Francisco offered, through his officers, who are thoroughly familiar with Chinatown and with the Chinese population, to point out one thousand highbinders—professional criminals—who had been satisfactorily shown to be such, in the course of his dealings with them, and asked that, as they had not registered, the deportation laws should be put into force against them first, and that they should be driven out.
In that way it was hoped to get rid of that element, with an element which it controls, the Chinese female slaves who have been imported to San Francisco and scattered around the surrounding towns for immoral purposes. It was proposed that they should be driven out, and a part of the moral cancer which they brought with them thus cut away and removed from the State.
If that had been done, if to the extent of the means available the suggestion of the chief of police had been accepted, and one thousand—a small proportion of the Chinese criminal element there—had been deported, the people would have felt much more kindly toward the proposition now made of giving to the Chinese another chance for registration. These highbinders have prevented their fellow-countrymen from registering, at the behest and command of the Chinese Six Companies, and the people felt that, when this great class of criminals and moral lepers had placed themselves within the reach of our laws for deportation, they should be promptly dealt with. It seemed as if the time long and patiently awaited had come, when, under the laws of our country, their privilege of remaining here would be canceled, and California relieved of that portion of its moral scourge.
But the people's hopes were not realized, and now the proposition is to restore to all those people, as fully as to all other Chinese, the right to register, the right to remain, the right (or opportunity) to carry on their infamous traffic, and execute the Asiatic laws now prevailing in that portion of San Francisco occupied by the Chinese. If the law had been enforced to that extent, or if the law remaining unrepealed and unamended shall be enforced to that extent, until the highbinder element shall be banished, there would be far less objection to extending the period of registration, under proper safeguards, to those then remaining. I do not mean that we should now give any direction that any particular class of the Chinese who have forfeited their rights to live here should be selected by law for deportation; but if the Government, exercising the powers and the means given to it by this Congress, should go on for the next two years trying and deporting that class of Chinamen, as we would have the right to do, one great object would be achieved.
Only a certain number, as the gentleman from Kentucky [Mr. MCCREARY] showed the other day, can be tried and deported within a given time. It would take two years to get rid of the classes that bear the brand of at least one term of penal servitude for violations of the laws of California.
Why not let the Geary law stand as it is for two years, provide a reasonable fund for the deportation of those with whom the courts can deal in that time, and let the worst element of our Chinese population be disposed of before we further discuss the propriety of giving the less objectionable another chance to register?
If that should go on for two years under the provisions, as to means, made by this Congress, the Chinese population would be very largely scattered from San Francisco; the vilest of its criminal elements would have been sent from our shores entirely; a better feeling would prevail everywhere concerning the treatment of the Chinese question; and we might then, with a safety which we can not count on now, reopen to such Chinese as might then remain in the country the opportunity for registering, if we should deem it wise, under the conditions then existing, so to do. But until the most offensive, the most degrading, the most destructive influence of the residence of the present body of Chinese in this country shall be removed, under the right which they themselves have unquestionably given us, any provision for extending the period of registration will be a severe blow to the interests of the Pacific States.
Mr. MORSE. Right there will the gentleman allow me to ask him a question?
Mr. MAGUIRE. No; not yet. Let me finish what I am about to say and then I will answer your question.
I was going to say that the people of California are unanimous in their desire to be rid of this element; but unfortunately there are some Californians who are in a position to enjoy the benefits, the substantial benefits, flowing from a system of civilization such as the gentleman from New York [Mr. SICKLES] presented here as one agreeable to his mind—the lowest wages at which servile labor can possibly be secured, and an aristocracy of employers growing rich by their privilege of appropriating the fruits of others' toil.
The gentleman favors a higher standard for American labor, but it is manifestly impossible to maintain one standard of wages for American labor and another for alien labor, competing in the same market, with natural opportunities equally closed against them.
The principles of democracy, in accordance with the laws of God, recognize but one rule of right among men. That rule of right awards to labor all that it produces. It is utterly incompatible with the asserted right of any class to live, by privilege, upon the labor of others. Cheap labor is labor that is worth more than its wages—labor that produces more than it receives—and any industrial system which compels labor to give up to a privileged class any portion of the wealth which it produces is a system of robbery, abhorrent to the laws of God and destructive of the primary principle of human association—justice. There are a few hundred monopolists in California who favor Chinese immigration, because it furnishes them with cheap labor and enables them to live more luxuriously at the expense of the laboring classes. Now, I will answer the gentleman's question.
question, Mr. Speaker, is this. The gentleman speaks about no
difference of opinion, and substantial unanimity in regard to the
matter of restricting immigration of Chinese. I do not think there is
any difference of opinion here about that. I think the House is a unit
on the subject of restriction. The gentleman spoke about a vote that
was had in California. That was several years since, of course.
Mr. MAGUIRE. It was in 1879.
Mr. MORSE. Of course that antedates the Geary law, which was passed by the Fifty-second Congress. I want to ask my friend from California if he understood that vote to which he has referred to be an indorsement of the Geary act? That is my question.
Mr. MAGUIRE. I understood that vote to be a declaration that in the experience of the people of California Chinese immigration was a curse; and that, for the benefit of the State of California and of our common Union, it ought to be stopped. It went no further than that, because there were no further questions presented to the voters at that time. It was an indorsement of the principle of the Geary act, although the act itself was not in existence.
Mr. REILLY. Mr. Speaker, will the gentlemen allow me to ask him a question?
Mr. MAGUIRE. Certainly.
Mr. REILLY. It is this. If there had been no question about the validity of the act of 1892, the Geary act, and it was thoroughly understood by the Chinese people themselves that it was to be enforced, what effect do you think that would have had in taking out of the country those who felt or knew they were unlawfully here? Would any great number of the Chinese have gone, voluntarily?
Mr. MAGUIRE. If on the 5th of May of this year, immediate steps had been taken to enforce the deportation clause of the Geary act they would have gone from our country in thousands, and they would have gone at once.
Mr. REILLY. Well, now, if the bill reported by the Committee on Foreign Affairs, extending the privilege of registering for a period of six months only is passed, and it is understood that it is to be enforced, would it have the same effect?
Mr. MAGUIRE. It would not be understood that it would be enforced. The attorneys for these six companies are already telling their people that, as the vote in the Supreme Court of the United States (I use the word vote most respectfully) stood 5 to 3 on the constitutionality of the Geary act, with one justice absent, who is supposed by them to be opposed to the decision of the majority of the court; with a new judge, supposed to be in sympathy with the Eastern sentiment on that subject they will be able, if a new law be passed and anew test case presented to the Supreme Court of the United States, to have the registration and deportation act declared unconstitutional by that court. They are counting upon it. They are advising their clients in that way to-day. They will make the contest. This will be a battle to the death on the part of the Six Companies, and as long as the " highbinder ; ' influence can coerce the individual Chinese, any law which will destroy the importing business of those companies will be resisted.
Mr. MORSE. Let me call the attention of the gentleman from California to a statement made by the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. He is a gentleman who does not speak at random, and I believe he spoke advisedly when he said as 1 remember, that he had information that the Chinese would register if the time was extended six months.
Mr. MAGUIRE. Did he say that he had received that information from individual Chinamen, or from anybody authorized to speak for them?
Mr. MORSE. From somebody authorized to speak for them, I understood.
Mr. BRETZ. Who was that?
Mr. MORSE. He did not say, but we may infer that it was the Chinese minister.
Mr. MAGUIRE. He was asked who it was, because it was suspected that he referred to the Chinese minister, and because, on the Pacific coast, it has been supposed that the Chinese minister and the Chinese consul have been " standing in " with the Six Companies in their defiance of our laws.
Mr. MORSE. That is right. I would vote for that.
Mr. GEARY. Well, we will take your vote, and offer that amendment.
Mr. MORSE. All right.
Mr. MAGUIRE. We will present an amendment providing that the extension shall not operate to include any person who has ever been convicted of crime in this country.
The gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. MORSE] scouted the idea that 90,000 or 100,000 Chinese in this great country could be a source of any real hardship to the country, or any menace to our institutions, social, political, or industrial, and as one basis for his statement in that behalf he called attention to the magnificent, boundless, inexhaustible, natural resources of this country. Our natural resources are indeed measureless and inexhaustible, and if they were open to the people of this country on fair and equal terms—on the terms on which the great Creator gave them to mankind—the gentleman's argument on that phase of the question would be sound. But these natural resources, without access to which labor can produce no wealth at all, are not open to the people. They are monopolized. Monopolized—in that word see, ye ages, comprised "the cause of the curses all annals contain." Chinese labor would not and could not oppress American labor if our lands were free, but, as it is, land monopoly and cheap imported labor are the upper and the nether millstones, between which American labor is being ground into serfdom and pauperism, as I will presently explain. The natural resources of the Pacific coast, the natural resources of our entire country, are the private property of a few individuals.
Every cheapening of labor, by any means, increases the market value of the land and the rent rolls of its owners; thus, by a double process, widening the gulf between the landless poor and our growing landed aristocracy. American labor, driven from the natural sources of independent self-employment, is forced to enter the labor markets of cities and towns and compete for employment with the cheapest labor that is there offered for sale.
Mr. MAGUIRE. The people are responsible, because they have the power to correct the evil and do not exercise that power; but it is to be hoped that the people will ere long relieve themselves of that responsibility.
The monopoly of the natural earth and its God-given resources is the colossal crime of modern civilization, beside which all other oppressions of the poor are insignificant. Land is the exclusive source of human subsistence. All wealth, all means of physical subsistence, are extracted by labor from the natural earth. Indeed, man is a land animal in every sense. His food, his clothing, his shelter, his very body, all come from the land and all to the land return again. He must live upon the land and from the land, if he live at all. Even the sailor and the aeronaut are not exempt from these conditions of human existence, for the decks trodden by the one and the bars and ropes which support the other are of land.
The right to life, which we all regard as sacred and inalienable, can not be more sacred than the right of access to the exclusive means by which life can be supported. "You take my life when you do take the means whereby I live."
Yet, in this land of unexampled and unparalleled political liberty, a few men own and control the only source from which the masses of the people can draw their subsistence.
Those few have, therefore, the unnatural power to dictate the terms upon which the masses of the people of this country can live—to fix the terms upon which they may have access to the natural resources that the Creator made necessary to the support of their lives. The Creator not only made and freely gave those resources as a common heritage to all his children for their support and sustenance, but he is constantly from day to day replenishing and improving them by the operation of his natural laws.
The creative power, by its changing seasons, by its sunlight and its rains, and its drifting winds, by its processes of growth and decay in the vegetable and in the animal world, is ever building up and replenishing the elements of the land that yield subsistence for mankind.
The unquestioned legal right of our landed class to entirely exclude their fellow-citizens from the lands of our country involves the power to inflict all oppressions less than such exclusion.
We have, therefore, under the forms of the greatest political freedom, a land system which creates an absolute despotism, under which the land-owning classes are lords of the industries, the liberties, and even the lives of their landless fellow-citizens.
It is in connection with this institution and this condition that we must consider the question of Chinese immigration. To consider the question abstractly is not to consider it at all. Upon the abstract question of human rights we are practically agreed.
You plead for justice and humanity to 85,000 Chinese. I plead for justice and humanity to 60,000,000 of Americans, whose hard conditions of life are being made harder by competition with Chinese slavery.
You do not see that you are really pleading for an increase of the oppressive power of American landlordism, with very little if any good to the individual Chinamen in whose names you speak.
True, they will be slaves if they are returned to China, but they will be slaves if they remain in this country, and their presence here will tend to degrade our laborers to the level of slavery.
American labor is no longer free, because its natural opportunities for self-employment, although they are measureless and inexhaustible, as the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. MORSE] has said, are closed against it by monopoly. It can no longer escape from an unsatisfactory labor market, but, in spite of the fact that wages bear no relation whatever to the value of labor, it must bid for employment against the cheapest labor that is offered there.
The tendency and the end of such competition in an overcrowded labor market where there is still an army of unemployed laborers, after all demands for labor have been supplied, is to reduce all wages to the line at which the unemployed surplus, facing the alternative of beggary and starvation, are willing to work.
I have seen the whole problem of labor's degradation worked out in practical life before my own eyes. Thirty years ago, sir, labor in California was comparatively free, because land was comparatively free there. Labor was then paid according to its production and not according to the lowest standard of living prevailing among the laborers as now. It was then worth what it produced and it was paid accordingly.
Laborers being then free to go upon the virgin soil and build their homes and establish their own industries, and being able there to comfortably feed and clothe their families and to educate their children in the standard branches of useful learning, were not obliged to remain in the labor market when it offered less favorable conditions. Then California was labor's "Promised Land." Then California was the last rampart from which the boasted and really glorious "standard of American labor" has been permitted to float.
Then sparseness of population and the consequent lack of social advantages, imposed the only hardships that were known. What wonder that those who knew the freedom and the happiness of those conditions yearn for their return.
I saw the change of social conditions come. I saw the shadow of land monopoly steal over and encompass our Golden State. I saw a few hundred men become the absolute owners and masters of her great material resources, that were manifestly intended by their Creator to furnish homes and subsistence to 40,000,000 people. I saw an empire of her best and richest land pass by act of Congress under the dominion of a single, soulless corporation. I saw the gates of natural independence in home and industry closed against American labor.
I saw labor driven from its lucrative and independent retreats in the mountains and valleys into the markets of the cities and towns, there to be sold as a commodity at prices fixed by the laws of trade.
I saw the
wages of American labor
changed from the value of its product down to the price fixed by the
alternative of pauperism, while the wealth-producing power of labor was
increased, on the average, in all departments of industry elevenfold.
I saw the beneficiaries of monopoly manipulating the labor market to keep the price of labor down. I saw them importing, in tens of thousands, the coolies of China, not for the benefit of the Chinamen, as Eastern philanthropists persist in believing, but for the double purpose of bearing the labor market, by maintaining a surplus and of teaching American laborers to live on the rations of Asiatic slavery. These beneficiaries, let me say to the gentleman from Kentucky [Mr. MCCREARY], are the Californians whose brass bands and streaming banners heralded the dawn of Asiatic slavery on the Pacific coast in the ratification of the Burlingame treaty; and they, sir, would again furnish bands and banners to celebrate the resumption of their slave traffic if the Geary act were repealed.
In the great State of California, whose natural resources are confessedly capable of supporting 40,000,000 people, I saw the horrors that are supposed to result only from overpopulation, prevailing with a population of only 1,000,000.
I saw the millionaire, without productive effort on his part, become a multi-millionaire, upon the tribute commanded by his purchased and granted privileges; and I saw the army of pauperism growing as he grew, and growing because of the conditions that made him grow—recruited by thousands from the ranks of unemployed labor—a ghastly procession of vice and crime, and rags and filth, and torment and despair, drifting listlessly, as "flotsam and jetsam" on the tide of our civilization, to whatever goal a just God may deem suitable at the close of their earthly hell.
These are the results as I have seen them on the Pacific coast, of land monopoly, supplemented by the importation of Chinese slaves. These are the conditions which we seek to mitigate by the enforcement of the Geary act. The picture that I have drawn is no "distorted vision," no "distempered dream," but a stern tragedy in real life enacted in the open light of day. An awful tragedy on which the curtain rose within my memory, and upon the last act of which the final triumph of humanity over monopoly—I hope to see the curtain fall within my lifetime.
They prevail throughout the civilized world, wherever our land system prevails; but in the older sections of our country the change from free conditions antedates the earliest recollections of the generation now upon the stage of public life, and the Chinese phase of our Western problem has no parallel east of the Rocky Mountains.
Macaulay tells us that "in the brave days of old," when Rome was mistress of the world; when to be a citizen of Rome was esteemed the proudest privilege of manhood, her "lands were fairly portioned " among her citizens. In the period of her decline and fall the lands had become the property of a few great landlords who employed slaves to work them. The landless citizens, thus excluded from the poor privilege of working as laborers upon the lands which once their fathers owned, drifted helplessly to the cities and towns, and there, in the helplessness of enforced idleness, they sank into pauperism and vice. Their debased suffrage became mere merchandise in the market, thus extending instead of controlling- the powers of the monopolists. The soldiers of Rome became supplicants for alms, and their children hereditary paupers. The outer form of her official life alone preserved the semblance of Rome's departed glory. Then Rome fell, and, over the sepulchre of her once splendid civilization, her epitaph was written: "Latifundia perdidere ltaliam" (Great estates ruined Italy").
Shall history be permitted to repeat itself? Shall the lords of our land be permitted to work it with slave labor? Shall they be permitted to exclude our brethren and our fellow-citizens from the poor privilege of earning their living as hired laborers upon the land in which, by natural right, they have an equal interest with the landlords themselves?
Shall they be permitted for their private gain to bring upon our country the curse that shattered the Empire of Rome? Shall they be permitted to turn our civilization backward, and make the ages of its development droop again?
We of the West do not yield to the people of New England in love of humanity. As a native son of New England I glory in her devotion to the cause of liberty, and civilization. Oar warfare is not against the unfortunate Chinamen. We would rather help them than hurt them.
We are struggling to preserve our own people from the hell of slavery that yawns beneath them. That accomplished, we will, in proportion to our numbers and our means, match every dollar and every effort that New England will contribute for the enlightenment and civilization of the Chinese, and for the betterment of their moral and social condition. Until American labor shall be made free we demand that it be protected from the competition of slavery. The emancipation of our own labor is the only just alternative for the exclusion and deportation of the Chinese. This brings me to the discussion of that alternative—the emancipation of labor.
The gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. MORSE] asked: "Who is responsible" for the condition of land monopoly prevailing in this country, and I answered that the people are responsible, because they have the power to correct the evil and do not exercise that power.
The question is pertinent and important, because if the greatest evil of Chinese immigration results from faults in our land system, it may well be asked why we do not cure those faults and let the Chinese remain.
The gentleman's question, touching as it does the very heart of the great social conflict now agitating the civilized world, deserves a more complete and a more detailed answer.
The remedy which I propose for the evil of land monopoly is simple, just, practical, and unquestionably sufficient. It is this: To appropriate to public use, by taxation, for the support of our Federal, State, and municipal governments, the entire rental value of all land, irrespective of improvements, and to abolish all other taxes.
Would that be just? If it would not be just it would not be expedient. I hold that no permanent good ever resulted from an act of injustice. "Never yet did men or nations prosper finally in wrong." Entertaining these views and believing with Daniel Webster that "Justice, sir, is the great interest of man on earth," I am fully convinced, after mature deliberation, that the remedy is not only just in itself, but that it embodies the only means by which justice can be permanently and universally established among men.
Land is the common heritage of all mankind. It was freely given by the Creator, with all of its elements and all of its powers, for the equal use and sustenance of all mankind. It was not given to any one generation, nor to any class or classes in any generation, but equally to all mankind, from the first child of nature to the last human creature who shall inhabit the earth.
Land is the common heritage of every child of God—not as the heir of his natural father, not according to the possessions or the will of his natural father, whose right to land perishes with his own life—but as the direct heir of the Universal Father, from whom the right to life, to liberty, to air, to sunlight, are likewise directly inherited.
The true province of government is to regulate the use of this heritage by its citizens while preserving to each his equal right therein.
To cure the evil of land monopoly the motive for it must be clearly understood in order that the incentive may be intelligently removed. Is the motive self-aggrandizement, or is it malicious, or is it mercenary? Our common experience is alone necessary to determine the question.
The motive is almost wholly mercenary. The desire for power over other men has its influence, but it is purely incidental. Profit, either present or prospective, is practically the sole inducement to land monopoly. That profit is yielded either in present ground rent or future enhancement of the land value.
What is ground rent, and why does land, the natural elements and qualities of which remain unchanged, continue to advance in value in all growing communities?
Who produces the rental value of land? What influence has Chinese slave labor upon ground rent?
Ground rent is the landlord's share of production. It is the tribute charged by the owner of the natural earth for allowing others to use it. Its measure is stated by Ricardo to be, referring to any given piece of land: "the excess of its produce over that which the same application can secure from the least productive land in use."
In practice it may be generally stated that the rental value of any given piece of land is the difference between the average value of its product and the average cost (labor and capital) of production, for the period of the lease.
It is therefore manifest that whatever increases the value of the product, without increasing the cost of production, increases ground rent, as: an increased demand for the product, resulting from increase of population, or other cause, or an improvement in the quality of the product.
It is also manifest that whatever reduces the cost of production tends to increase ground rent, as: a reduction of the wage of labor, inventions of labor-saving machinery, and improvements in the methods of combining and subdividing labor.
Thus it is that, under our land system, every contribution to material progress, as well as every reduction in the wages of labor, attaches itself to the land and inures to the benefit of the landlords in increased ground rent.
For example, let us suppose that a given farm, or a shop or store site, which can be operated by one man, will yield a ground rent of $150 per year, when the standard wages of the required labor are $2 per day; if the wages of such labor be generally reduced to $1.75 per day, the cost of productively using that land will be reduced about $75 per year, and the amount of that reduction of cost can be added to the rent, unless, as another result of the reduction of wages the price of the product also goes down in the market.
Making an allowance of $40 on account of the reduction in the price of the product (a very liberal allowance), we have a net saving of $35 per year, which the landlord can add to his rent. This is the primary effect, only, of the reduction of wages upon the value of land. There is another effect equally important. A piece of land which will yield a certain amount of rent annually as a net income, is worth as an investment twenty times the amount of its annual net rent.
Therefore, an addition of $35 per annum to the rental value of the land in question would increase its market price $700.
Thus, the reduction of 25 cents per day in the poor man's wages not only lessens his purchasing power to that extent, but actually adds $700 to the price of the home which it is his life's ambition to secure.
This is the result which, with greater or less intensity, is being produced by land monopoly everywhere.
The displacement of labor by labor-saving inventions drives the displaced laborers into the market to swell the army of the unemployed. The natural opportunities for the redistribution of the labor thus displaced being closed by monopoly, competition among laborers is intensified, wages reduced, and rent correspondingly increased.
This is the process which is enslaving labor and exalting landlordism everywhere.
We have now seen, in brief outline at least, what ground rent is and how it arises. We have seen that it is an increment of value produced and imposed upon the natural earth by the presence, industry, enterprise, inventiveness, and virtues of the whole people of each community in which it arises.
We have seen that it absorbs all of the general advantages of the material progress of the whole people; that to the landlord it is in every sense an unearned increment to which as landlord he does not in anyway contribute.
Merely permitting labor to use land productively is not a contribution to production, because the land, with all of its useful elements, was given to mankind by God, and would have been accessible to labor if the shadow of landlordism had never darkened the horizon of our civilization.
The community is entitled to the rental value, because the community does produce it. Every value belongs of natural right to him whose labor or service produces it, and without whose labor or service it would not have existed. It is immaterial whether the value be produced by one person, or by ten persons, or by a million persons. It belongs to those who produce it—individually, if it be individually produced, collectively, it it be collectively produced.
The argument in favor of leaving the accrued rental value of land, that is, the unearned increment which has already attached to land, to the present owners, is based upon a mistake of fact. There is no such thing as an accrued rental value attaching to any land. All future rental values of land depend upon what the people will do in the future, and not at all upon what they have done in the past.
As the landlords have confessedly no moral or legal right to compel the people to put forth the enterprise and industry necessary to produce and to maintain the rental value of their lands, they certainly can have no moral right to privately appropriate any of the direct or indirect results of such enterprise and industry as the people may voluntarily put forth.
As to improvements, the man who plants an orchard, or digs a ditch, or builds a house or a fence should pay no more taxes upon his orchard or his field or his lot than he would be required to pay if he had made no improvements whatever.
The value of the improvements belongs to the man who makes the improvements, by the same rule of right which awards the value of the location to the people who produce it; and a wise concern for the public interest dictates the encouragement of improvements by exempting them from taxation, rather than the discouragement of improvements by placing any kind of burden upon them.
The man who builds a house or plants an orchard increases the means of satisfying human wants, and is a benefactor of mankind in spite of the fact that his motive may be purely selfish; while the man who keeps a foot of useful land out of use works a corresponding injury to mankind.
The expediency of raising all public revenues by a single tax on land values, as a substitute for all other forms of taxation, further appears in the fact that it would save nine-tenths of the expense and waste now involved in levying and collecting taxes upon personal property, upon imports, and upon business privileges, all of which taxes are regularly shifted from the primary payers to the ultimate consumers—falling principally upon the overburdened farmers and laborers of our country.
As such a tax would bear upon land according to its value, and not according to area, and as the value of farming land is very small, by comparison with the value of land used for commercial and other industrial purposes, the small farmers—the most heavily burdened class under our present system—would find the single tax less in volume and far less oppressive in method than the complex and accumulated burdens of the direct and indirect taxes which now fall upon them with notorious inequality.
A tax on land values is the only property tax that always falls with proportionate equality upon all owners and that can not be shifted from the person paying it to the ultimate consumer or user. The reason that it can not be shifted is that while a tax on any other kind of property tends to check its production , and thus, by the law of supply and demand, to increase its price sufficiently to cover the tax, a tax on land values forces idle land into the market, increasing the supply of land offered for sale or lease, and thus, by the same law of supply and demand, reducing, instead of increasing, the rent. Heavy taxation of houses increases the rent of houses by the amount of the tax, but heavy taxation of land values decreases the rent of land. All political economists are agreed on that proposition, and it needs no argument.
Such a change in our taxation laws would not be an impairment of any vested right of landowners, because the power and right of taxation, to the extent of taking the entire rental value, whenever the public good may seem to require it, has been absolutely reserved to our governments, national and State, against every foot of land that has ever passed into private ownership in this country.
The effect of such a system of taxation upon the monopoly of land in this country must be instantly apparent. It would at once make such monopoly unprofitable and wasteful to the monopolist. It would at once take away the only incentive that now exists for the monopoly of land. It would compel all landowners to use their land productively, or at once let it go to those who would so use it.
Every user of land could afford to pay the margin of production or economic rental value of his land in taxes; but no man, above the mental level of a fool, would pay taxes amounting to the economic rental value of his land for the mere purpose of monopolizing it.
It would encourage the productive use and improvement of lands by relieving them of all public burdens, while insuring permanency of tenure, security of improvements, and security in the fruits of all productive effort.
Will our New England humanitarians accept the alternative; rise with me to this higher level of philanthropy, and assist in securing and building up our own civilization, as the best means of extending its advantages to the people of China?
With this emancipation of American labor accomplished, we could safely receive and absorb and civilize twice as many Chinese as have ever been within our borders, and, at the same time, furnish an object lesson to the other myriad millions of China that would set her civilization a thousand years forward, within the span of a single decade.
Which then, I ask, is the truer philanthropy? Is it that which you advocate, by which the powers and unjust privileges of American landlordism would be increased, and our own Civilization degraded, in order to secure to a few thousand Chinese the doubtful advantage of living in slavery in this country instead of living in the same slavery in their own country? Is it not, rather, that which we advocate, by which our own civilization will be preserved and lifted up from the influences that are degrading it, and a new impulse given to the civilization of the whole world, such as no other single act in the world's history has ever given.
Your charge of cruelty and inhumanity against us in our treatment of the Chinese is unfounded and unjust. Never have any people been more patient, more law abiding, or more considerate under the pressure of similar evils than have the people of California in their treatment of the Chinese people.
Chinese exclusion and deportation are merely measures of necessary self-defense, and are in no sense race persecutions. Our warfare is not against the individual Chinamen, but against the deplorable conditions which their immigration and residence bring to us.
As well might we charge the people of the East with cruelty and inhumanity to the unfortunate passengers of plague-stricken ships, when, in protecting yourselves from the ravages of cholera, you enforce your quarantine laws.
We can not permit the evils of slave competition to afflict our people while we await the emancipation of American labor. The process of emancipation is too slow. The people are yet too greatly divided in opinion concerning the best method of emancipation, They have not yet sufficiently learned that labor never can be free except where land is free.
The people are reading and studying the philosophy of Henry George. Progress and Poverty, which a distinguished English writer has happily denominated "a glorious gospel of justice," is steadily and rapidly changing the credence of the world on the subject of land tenure.
The manifest truths of its philosophy will speedily unify the world's credence, "Never yet share of truth was vainly set in the world's wide fallow.
You ask if I do not recognize the Chinaman in this scheme of creative beneficence? I answer yes. I recognize most fully the natural rights of the Chinese. I do not question their equal right to the elements which the Creator has given for the sustenance of human life; but I recognize the fact that the same Creator has established the family, and by his law of human gregariousness has established the community and has decreed that through the family and the community civilization shall be evolved and defended.
He has the same right to an independent home that I have, but he has no right to invade my home, nor I his; and, as I have but followed the Creator's law of evolution in building up the institutions which constitute my civilization, I have a right to defend them, as well against the unarmed invader from China as against the armed soldier from Great Britain.
I also desire to read, as presenting labor's view of this question, the following extracts from the petition of the Bricklayers' Union, which I will file here, and which has been indorsed by resolution in every union belonging to the Building Trades Council of San Francisco. The extracts to which I desire to call special attention are as follows:
The importation of Chinese coolie labor into the State of California, and sister States of this Union, and the simultaneous closing of natural opportunities against our own people, have during the past twenty-five years been gradually but steadily reducing American labor to a condition of slavery....
The oppression of monopoly on the one hand, and the competition of Chinese slave labor on the other, threaten to speedily degrade our American laborers below the standard of family life, by reducing wages to the bare cost of maintaining unmarried coolies.
I commend this vivid but not overdrawn picture of the ordeal of American labor to the Eastern sentimentalists who profess such an undying devotion to the abstract rights of man. I commend it also to the ministers of religion who are deploring the decadence of church influence among the laboring classes', while as representatives of religion they are promoting the humiliation and the degradation of labor by their advocacy of Chinese immigration.
[Mr. MAGUIRE here
gave way to a motion to adjourn, reserving the right to conclude his
October 14. Mr. MAGUIRE (resuming). Mr. Speaker, when the House adjourned last evening I was discussing the industrial features of Chinese immigration and residence on the Pacific coast. I endeavored to show that in California certain social forces, supplemented by the competition of Chinese coolies, had reduced the wages of labor to a point that bears no relation whatever to the value of labor, but is regulated solely by the standard of living of the lowest class of labor in the country; and that, as slavery is the lowest form of labor competing there, our laborers are being reduced to its standard of living.
The gentleman from New Hampshire [Mr. BAKER] asked my colleague [Mr. GEARY] if the Chinese did not give full value in labor for the $300,000,000 which as surplus earnings they have carried from the Pacific coast to China during the last twenty five years.
I answer yes. They gave much more than value for it to the people who were in a position to take advantage of the cheapness of their labor, but they compelled the laborers of our own race to surrender an equal proportion of the value of their earnings to the same monopolists.
Let me say further to the gentleman, that, before the coming of the Chinese, American laborers received more than double the wages now prevailing in California, and they gave full value in labor for every dollar that they received in wages then. The wealth-producing power of labor has since that time increased many fold. Yet, in spite of increased wealth production, their wages have fallen 50 per cent. Will gentlemen, professing a desire for justice to labor, applaud that result?
When the lands of California were free and the American laborers there had the option to leave the labor market when its conditions were unsatisfactory, and go out upon the land and establish independent industries and means of subsistence for themselves, no competition of servile labor could injuriously affect them, but would tend perhaps to drive them to higher pursuits, and to callings better suited to their intelligence and capacity than the kind of labor for which they are now obliged to compete with the Chinese.
But we have no such conditions existing there now. American labor is not free there. It has no alternative there, any more than it has here, to leave the labor market when the conditions become unsatisfactory. It must find its employment in the labor market; and with the constant presence of a large body of unemployed laborers in that market, the tendency of the law of supply and demand—the supply exceeding the demand—is to reduce wages, regardless of the value of labor, to the lowest standard of living which will be adopted by the most hardly pressed class of laborers looking for employment. "With thousands of surplus laborers of our own race in the labor markets of California wages would, in any case, be reduced to the lowest standard according to which Caucasian laborers would consent to live;, but, with that army of unemployed Caucasian laborers supplemented by nearly a hundred thousand Chinese, whose standard of living is so low that no American laborer can submit to it and live, you can imagine the condition to which Chinese immigration has brought our laboring people.
As I stated yesterday, there is a class of men in California that favors Chinese immigration. A representative of that class, Mr. W. W. Hollister, was a prominent witness before the committee of investigation sent by Congress to California in 1876. He testified that Chinese labor, or labor as cheap as Chinese labor, was absolutely necessary to the great productive industries of the State, and he cited his own case. He testified that be was conducting a farm and that it was impossible for him to pay $30 a month for European or American laborers to cultivate his farm and make any money upon it; he testified that he could get Chinese labor for $15 a month, and that his farm was thereby made profitable.
Being questioned by a member of the committee, he stated that his farm, usually cultivated, consisted of 75,000 acres of land, that in addition to that he owned other lands, of the best in California, to the aggregate amount of 318,000 acres. To men who are thus monopolizing all that section of our country the cheapest form of labor available is most desirable, and with the power of wealth these men have everywhere and at every opportunity, through the powerful channels always accessible to wealth, sought to ridicule, to slur, to denounce, to berate the masses of the people of California for opposing Chinese immigration, and have denounced them as "sand-lotters" and "hoodlums" and people opposed to peace, to honesty, and to good order.
Those statements have been repeated on the floor of this House, and, while I do not blame gentlemen here, residing in the East, for repeating such statements when they come upon the authority of Californians, I do denounce them as false and unjust, as the outcry of the 800 monopolists against the 154,000 people of California, who in 1879 stood against the demands of the promoters of Chinese immigration, who sought to increase that immigration solely for their own personal advantage, regardless of the distress and the oppression and the ruin that their mercenary purposes brought upon the State. I say further that no country in the world, no section of this great country, animated as it is in all its sections by a love of fairness, justice, and law, can present a better showing than California makes with respect to her treatment of an alien, an objectionable, and an obnoxious race.
There is no section of this Union in which the Chinese people under similar circumstances, would be treated as well as they have been treated in California. There never has been, save in very exceptional cases, any danger to the lives or the property of the Chinese people in California. They have generally been protected from injury and insult, and even where, in a few isolated communities, the laboring classes, seeing their families in suffering and want and the monopolists of the only resources from which they could produce a living by their labor employing Chinese serfs to work the natural opportunities that they controlled, leaving their white fellow-citizens out as a body of surplus human beings to die—even there, when those people, moved and maddened by the impulse of despair, drove the Chinese out of the isolated towns of which I have spoken, they treated them with no violence, they even helped them to carry their baggage from the places from which they were deporting them down to the places of railroad or water transportation.
I do not justify the acts of the man who did attempt to take the law in their own hands and to remove the Chinese; but I do say that acts of violence and hoodlumism against the Chinese have been remarkably rare in California's treatment of this race under the circumstances.
The moral phases of this question have perhaps been amply discussed, and I shall therefore deal with them very briefly. The Chinese people, at least those who come to this country, constitute an inferior civilization. They have brought with them and planted in our midst the vices, the crimes, and the immoralities of an inferior civilization. They have made them cheap and alluring to the young of our race. They have driven great numbers of the boys and girls of our country, first from the schools and then from the workshops—from the schools by disabling their parents from maintaining them during their proper period of education—driven them untimely to seek employment in the workshops in competition and in contact with the Chinese, and they have again driven them out of the workshops by competition.
The contact has blunted their moral faculties; and the alluring cheap vices of this race, opening to them and beckoning them from every Chinese washhouse and nearly every Chinese institution in that city—opium smoking, Chinese gambling, lewdness, and worse vices constantly open on such terms as make them accessible—have blasted the lives of thousands of California's fairest and brightest sons and daughters.
A class of white children, some of them grown to a sort of distorted manhood and womanhood, lives now in San Francisco, degraded by contact with the Chinese, known as "opium fiends," numbering hundreds. They do not, perhaps, run up into thousands because they do not live long enough to constitute a very great class after they have contracted the vicious habits of the Chinese.
I have seen in reformatory and penal institutions in California scenes and evidences of the moral and physical degradation of white children by these Chinese vices that should appall the civilization of the East. Scenes and evidences that do appall every Eastern man or woman who, dealing practically with the Chinese question, undertakes, even for a few hours, to investigate it on our coast.
The men who speak in the name of humanity, in favor of the importation of Chinese, or of restoring to those who are here the right to remain, are men who have never seen the other side of this question—men who have never studied it from a practical standpoint. But East and West, the men who understand this race, who understand its destructive influence upon our people, are like the gentleman from New York [Mr. BARTLETT], like the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. SIBLEY], like every other man who has given thorough study to the subject, in perfect accord with the demands and prayers of the people of the Pacific coast.
The sanitary condition produced by the establishment of this Asiatic city in the heart of San Francisco is, beyond description, dangerous and loathsome and fetid. There has not been a time within the last ten years, according to the testimony of leading physicians of San Francisco who have examined the matter, and the statements of the Board of Health of San Francisco, when that quarter of our city has been free from loathsome, contagious diseases—from diseases that breed in the dirt and filth and offensiveness with which the Chinese habitually surround themselves, in spite of our laws.
Mr. RAY. Let me ask the gentleman this question: Are the municipal authorities of San Francisco powerless to remedy that state of things? Why can not the police power of the city take hold of it and correct it?
Mr. MAGUIRE. The police power and the power of boards of health—the best boards of health in the world are maintained there because it is absolutely necessary that they should be the best—are battling with these conditions and have battled with them constantly. They have so modified them as to make it possible for the city to escape epidemics. Fortunately the favorable climatic conditions, as stated in two of the Congressional committee reports here, make San Francisco a place unfavorable to the growth of the diseases that are carried there and bred there by these people. It has been declared by both of your committees that such conditions existing in any city in the East, or in any city in Europe, would spread desolation and death among the people beyond all human power of prevention.
Our police authorities and our boards of health have battled against these evils and these dangers constantly, and fortunately with great success so far as the body of the white people are concerned.
Mr. BAKER of New Hampshire. Will the gentleman yield for a question?
Mr. MAGUIRE. I have only five minutes, but I will hear the gentleman's question, because I have been answering one of his points.
Mr. BAKER of New Hampshire. I would like to ask whether the Chinese in San Francisco own the property that they occupy?
Mr. MAGUIRE. No, sir; as a rule they do not.
Mr. BAKER of New Hampshire. Then, why do you not compel the white men who own the property to keep it in proper sanitary condition? That is my question.
Mr. MAGUIRE. Well, that opens up a field of discussion too extensive for the very limited time that remains to me. The courts of California have been dealing with that question for years. A California State law requiring that 500 cubic feet of air should be provided to each occupant of a Chinese bedroom was resisted with the same desperation with which this law has been resisted, and by the same authority—the Six Companies. They resist every sanitary law that is enacted; they carry their resistance through all the courts, and they yield only under absolute compulsion of the final judgment of the highest court to which the law gives them a right of appeal or application.
Petitions have been presented here from a number of highly respected and highly respectable religious organizations for the repeal of the Geary act. These organizations have no thought of working injury or injustice to our laboring people . They move upon the impulse of their religious zeal for the salvation of Chinese souls, and are oblivious to the other side of the question. They do not see the moral ruin, the degradation, and the suffering which that immigration has brought to our own people, and naturally enough, in the name of that humanity which they see represented in the Chinese, knowing nothing of the considerations of humanity due to our own race, they plead and pray for increased facilities to Christianize the Chinese.
But, Mr. Speaker, I venture to assert that for every one of the disciples of Confucius that all the missionaries and ministers of the gospel have ever really converted to Christianity, I can point to fifty white children, children of our own race, who have gone from Christianity and from all the influences of civilization down to degradation, ruin, and infamy through competition and contact, with the Chinese residing in this country. I claim, sir, that the moral and physical ruin wrought among our people by this invasion will outweigh a hundred fold, aye, a thousand fold, all the good that all the missionaries and all the ministers have ever done in the matter of improving the moral condition of the Chinese.
Now, there has been some criticism and some complaint indulged concerning a remark made by my colleague, Mr. Geary, in relation to the petitions presented by conferences and associations of ministers of religion throughout the country to this body. I make the same objection to the attempts of these religious bodies to reënforce their perfectly proper personal petitions by appeals to the power and membership of their respective churches. I deny that any religious conference in this country, or any religious association in the United States, represents or is authorized to speak for the political sentiments or political opinions of those who constitute the membership of their churches. I deny that any annual conference of two hundred ministers has a right to control, or does control, or does represent, the political sentiments of the sixty-four thousand members of' its faith.
The same proposition was presented, the same stereotyped resolutions that have been here filed were submitted to the annual conference of the Congregational Church in California the other day and their adoption was urged. They were finally adopted , but the proposition to declare that the conference represented the sentiments of the members of the church on this question was rejected. It was rejected because two or three ministers rose and strenuously protested that the conference had no right to speak on this question for the members of the church, and declared that three-fourths of the church members were opposed to the position which a majority of the conference was ready to assume.
Mr. MAGUIRE. I have only the newspaper clipping to which I have referred and there is substantially nothing in it except what I have stated. The resolution adopted was for the repeal of the Geary act.
Speaker, my colleague [Mr. GEARY]
has clearly pointed out some very serious defects in the bill now
pending, and has submitted amendments calculated to correct them. If
this House is determined, against the protests of the Pacific coast, to
extend the time for Chinese registration, every consideration of good
faith and national dignity require that these amendments be adopted, so
that the act shall be as effective as possible for the purposes for
which it is intended. Without the provision for photographing the
Chinese who register the act will be practically a nullity. I thank the
House for its attention.
420 29th Street
McKeesport, PA 15132