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Sacramento, 1856. 


San Francisco Public Library 




Not to be taken from the Library 

Document No. 


[SESSION OF 1856. 





Mr. Speaker : 

The Committeee on Mines and Mining Interests, to whom have been referred 
petitions praying for the reduction of the license tax on the Chinese, and also the 
reduction of the tax imposed upon the immigration of the Chinese, with a view to 
prohibit their immigration and other matters relative to the same, beg leave to 
report, that they have considered the same, and submit the following report 
thereon : 

Your Committee deem the question of the migration of the people of China 
to California as the most important which can possibly engage the attention of 
the Legislature and the country. 

Limiting our view alone to the present effects of that migration, it is a matter 
which commands our serious consideration. The influx of this race, so limited 
in comparison with possible events, has already aroused a conflict of feelings and 
interests replete with discord and difficulties. If at so early a period in our his- 
tory we are perplexed with their presence, what may we not expect in the future ? 
Even now, it is beyond the power, or the financial ability, of the State to effect 
their removal, however unanimous and ardent the desire. All experience admon- 
ishes that there is no one thing in human affairs so hopelessly past redemption as 
the existence in the domain of the State, of a distinct and inferior race, however 
unwelcome their presence, or obnoxious their character. And as a distinct and 
inferior race, none are found to admit that they can ever mingle with our own on 
terms of social or political equality. Even admitting the possibility or probabil- 
ity of an amalgamation of different races in process of time, so as to produce a 
perfect moral, social and political equality, examples of which are to be found in 
Mexico and the South American Republics, we do not hesitate to say that such a 
consummation is more devoutly to be dreaded and avoided than the preceding 

In view, then, of all the momentous consequences which attaches to this sub- 
ject, whether present or future, merely possible, or eventually probable, we 
approach its investigation profoundly impressed with its transcendent and over- 
whelming magnitude and importance. It is a subject indeed, which may well 
call forth the highest efforts of the human mind, and the most elaborate disqui- 
sition of the philosopher and statesman. As men, as legislators and patriots, no 
higher subject can be presented for our deliberation. It is given to man to judge 
from the past, but the most prescient mind cannot quite lift the veil that enshrouds 
the future. In less than a single decade of our state and national existence, things 

which -now exist as facts, had they been foretold as prophecies, would have been 
classed with the tales of the Arabian Nights, or the fables of antiquity. A few 
short years ago we looked with curious eyes upon the straggling wanderer from 
Asiatic climes. Now, that vast empire which sustains in its bosom one-third of 
the population of this extended globe, threatens to precipitate upon us its innu- 
merable hordes. Who, in the abandon of his fertile imaginings, could have fan- 
cied ten years since, that the Legislature of a powerful State, bordering upon the 
boundless expanse of the tranquil Pacific, would this day be sitting in earnest 
deliberation upon the admission or exclusion of Asiatics to the limits of their 
domain. Taught thus by such, and so potent examples of the varying vicissi- 
tudes of human affairs, and their possible mutations, as yet undeveloped, or at 
best but dimly seen in the vistas of the future, and invoking wisdom from above, 
with minds solely intent on the safety and welfare of the body social and politic, 
let us apply to this subject the most searching analysis and investigation. Let us 
be fully mindful that we are legislating for all future time, as well as the present ; 
that if faithful to our own trusts, and cognizant of the true interests of the State, 
we are laying the foundation broad and deep, of one of the mightiest empires on 
which the sun has ever shone. Let us be watchful to lay them right. Let us 
apply to ourselves the sentiments of the epic poet so suggestively expressed, with 
respect to the grandeur of the destiny of Eneas, who, in his flight from the smok- 
ing ruins of Troy, planted his colors on the Italian shore : " That from thence 
arose the Latin race, the Alban fathers, and the walls of imperial Rome." 

The policy of the exclusion of Asiatics was initiated by the Governor and Leg- 
islature of this State at its last session, and we believe such policy accords with 
the spontaneous sentiment of a large majority of the people. Such policy, how- 
ever, is questioned by the mass of the commercial and trading classes of the State, 
and by many the legal and constitutional right of the State to enact and enforce 
such exclusion or prohibitory policy, is denied. The respect which is always due 
in concurrence with the natural rights of any considerable minority of our fel- 
low citizens, and of which the majority, under the limitations of the social com- 
pact, cannot divest them, imperatively demands that this subject should receive a 
thorough and complete investigation in all its relations and aspects, legal, consti- 
tutional and otherwise. Your Committee, believing that the policy of exclusion 
thus initiated is sanctioned by natural and constitutional law and the highest 
interests of society and the State, will present for your consideration the facts, 
arguments and authorities on which they ground their belief. They will endeavor 
to show that every State or Nation, by virtue of its sovereignty, has the sole and 
full right to determine who, and what class of aliens may be admitted to, or 
excluded from their limits. They will state some of the reasons why it is both 
proper and necessary that the Chinese especially, should not be admitted within 
our domain. And they will endeavor to show how the exercise of such power 
by the State is entirely compatible and consistent with the Constitution of the 
United States. 

And first, by the law of nature or the law of Nations, no State or Nation 
is under any obligation to receive aliens into its domain, if it conflicts with the 
true interests, or in any way endangers the peace, safety or happiness of the 
State. And the question, whether such reception of aliens does or does not thus 
endanger the State ? is a question of which the State affected is the only proper 
and sole arbiter and judge, since in the nature of things there can be no other. 
The duties and obligations of men in a State or Nation, correspond strictly with 
the duties and obligations of States or Nations, with such exceptions as may arise 
from the incompatibly different nature of the subjects ; of which this question of 
the admission or exclusion of Chinese is not an exception. It is,not to be inferred, 
however, that there is no rule or law of action of binding force, upon individuals 

in a state of nature, or Nations; for as men and Nations are mutually dependent, 
more or less, upon each other, they are by necessity bound to the observance of 
certain laws or rules of action, which may be termed obligations. Vattel lays 
dawn the law thus: "Hence is deduced the establishment of natural society 
among men." The general law of that society is, that each individual should do 
for the others every thing which their necessities require, and which he can 
perform without neglecting the duty that he owes to himself. The natural 
working of this law is perhaps best exemplified in what may be termed the rites 
of hospitality, for as men more nearly exist in a state of nature, there are the 
rites of hospitality most punctiliously observed, and for the reason that wants 
and necessities in that condition are more pressing and immediate. Men living 
in a state of nature, though thus observant of these rites, cling with the greatest 
pertinacity to appropriated rights, and most mortally resent the invasion of them. 

The law of Nations among European States, (and we do not speak of special 
treaties or stipulations,) is mainly founded upon the principles of the Christian 
religion. Thus the Apostle Paid, while he uniformly commends the giving of 
alms and the relief of the distressed, says: "that he who does not provide for his 
own household has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel." Such is the 
identical substance of the law as laid down by Vattel. Nations, like individual 
men in a state of nature, are under obligations to do and perform for others all 
that they can do, consistently with the obligations and duties that they owe to 
themselves ; but no man is obliged to starve himself to feed another, nor is any 
nation bound to jeopardize its own peace, safety or welfare by admitting the 
subjects or citizens of a foreign nation to reside within its limits. No man is 
bound to sacrifice his own life to save that of another. Nor is a Nation bound 
to do what is equivalent to that — (that is to say) — sacrifice the peace and safety 
of its own people by the admission of aliens within its domains. 

To illustrate the pertinency of our propositions, that the reasonings derived from 
the position of individual man is strictly applicable to the position of Nations, we 
quote Vattel. Vattel says : " Nations being composed of men naturally free and 
independent, and who,- before the establishment of civil society, lived together in 
a state of nature. Nations, or sovereign States, are to be considered as so many 
free persons living together in a state of nature." And again : " Since right 
arises from obligation, the nation possesses also the same rights which nature has 
conferred upon men, in order to enable them to perferm their duty." And again : 
" "We have already seen that men united in society, remain subject to the obliga- 
tion imposed upon them by human nature. That society, considered as a moral 
person, since possessed of an understanding, volation and strength peculiar to 
itself, is therefore obliged to live on the same terms with other societies or States, 
as individual man was obliged, before those establishments, to live with other 
men, that is to say, according to the laws of natural society, established among 
the human race, with the difference only of such exceptions as may arise from 
the different nature of the subjects." Acting in harmony then with the authority 
above quoted, we will proceed by way of illustration to suppose the case of an 
individual, who had originally entered upon and appropriated to his use a certain 
well-defined tract of land. Such individual could not by any principle of natural 
law be obliged to admit the intrusion of a stranger upon that domain, but would 
be justified by the conscience of all mankind in repelling by sufficient means such 
intrusion. Actual examples of this kind are not wanting in the history of the 
primitive patriarchal governments. The case supposed of an individual, is in 
every respect applicable to the domain of a Nation; for a Nation only possesses 
the right which have been surrendered to it by individuals, and the government 
can only be considered as an agent invested with the attributes of personality, 
and acting for the aggregated rights thus surrendered of all the individuals com- 

posing the Nation. This is all that constitutes sovereignty, and the Nation 
possesses by virtue of that sovereignty the same right that the individual man 
had to admit or exclude aliens from its domain, or a domicil within its domain, 
according to its sovereign will and pleasure — the offices of humanity excepted. 

On this principle it is that aliens are not competent to possess a title to real 
estate, except by special grace of the sovereign power. The escheatage of estates 
of aliens is on the same principle. That the ground-work of our rights may be 
fully understood, we quote again from Vattel's Law of Nations : " The duties 
that we owe to ourselves being unquestionably paramount to those we owe to 
others. A nation owes herself in the first instance, and in preference to all other 
nations, to do every thing she can to promote her own happiness and perfection. 
(I say everything she can, not only in a physical but in a moral sense ; that is, 
everything she can do lawfully and consistently with justice and honor.) When, 
therefore, she cannot contribute to the welfare of another Nation without doing 
an essential injury to herself, her obligation ceases on that particular occasion, and 
she is considered as lying under a disability to perform the office in question." 
And again: "A Nation or State has a right to everything that can help to ward 
off imminent danger and keep at a distance whatever is capable of causing its 
ruin ; and that for the very same reasons that establish its rights to the things 
necessary to its preservation." Except for the pertenacity of those whose interests, 
pecuniary and otherwise, are affected, who totally deny all right to restrict the 
immigration of Asiatics to this State, we should not have dilated at such length on 
this question of the right of a State or Nation to admit or exclude aliens. The 
rights of the General Government, as interfering with the rights of this State, we 
will consider hereafter. 

It is sufficient for the present, to know that certain immutable and absolute 
rights, incapable of annihilation, exist somewhere. We shall make but one quota- 
tion more from the same author, who, as he wrote about a century ago, is certainly 
disinterested in the matter, on the principle of the saying, "that it will make no 
difference a hundred years from this time." The author writes entirely apropos 
to the present question: " The sovereign may forbid the entrance of his territory 
either to foreigners in general or in particular cases, or to certain persons, or for 
certain particular purposes, according as he may think it advantageous to the 
State." There is nothing in all this that does not flow from the rights of the 
domain and sovereignty ; every one is obliged to pay respect to the prohibition, 
and whoever dares to violate it incurs the penalty decreed to render it effectual. 
But the prohibition ought to be known, as well as the penalty annexed to diso- 
bedience. Those who are ignorant of it ought to be informed of it when they 
approach to enter the country. Formerly the Chinese, fearing lest the intercourse 
of strangers should corrupt the manners of the Nation, and impair the maxims of 
a wise but singular government, forbade all people entering the Empire; a prohi- 
bition not at all inconsistent with justice ; provided they did not refuse human 
assistance to those whom tempest or necessity obliged to approach their frontiers. 
It was salutary to the Nation without violating the rights of any individual, or 
even the duties of humanity, which permits us, in case of competition, to prefer 
ourselves to others. 

Objections are commonly made, even by members of the legal profession, that 
there is no power granted in the Constitution of this State, or the United States, 
to exclude aliens. But the power in any case does not exist by virtue of written 
constitutions, but by virtue of the laws of nations, as deduced from natural law, 
the obligation and rights that flow from which we have previously elucidated. 

Most of the diplomacy, treaties and negotiations, as concluded and carried on 
between the United States and foreign nations, are discussed, conducted and regu- 
lated, not by any express provisions of the Constitution, bat by virtue of, and 

with reference to the laws of nations. All nations, communities, and even indi- 
viduals, are more or less subject to the laws of nations, which are simply the nat- 
ural rights or obligations of mankind. According to all writers on the law of 
nations, every nation has the undoubted right to exclude or admit aliens. No 
nation can absolve itself from these laws ; and if they cannot exempt themselves 
from the burdens imposed, they are correspondingly entitled to all the privileges 
conferred. It is by virtue of the law of nations that the United States claims 
their national flag protects her ships on the high seas from search and seizure, 
and not from any provision of the Constitution. 

No nation has ever existed which has more fully and unequivocally recognized 
and maintained the laws of nations, and all the obligations and duties arising 
from, or inculcated by those laws, than the United States. All arguments drawn 
therefore, from the absence of express constitutional provisions, authorizing the 
exclusion of aliens, rests on no solid basis. Neither the United States nor the 
individual States can be exempted from the operation and binding force of the 
laws of nations, and a renunciation of those laws would tend to their utter anni- 
hilation. That the framers of the Constitution of the United States held pre- 
cisely the same views herein expressed, is susceptible of the clearest proof. There 
is no express provision in the Constitution, that Congress shall have the power to 
prohibit aliens from immigrating into the domain, or limits of the United States ; 
but it is by the clearest implication, taken for granted in the ninth section of the 
Constitution, that Congress had the power to exclude aliens. Yet where did they 
get the power except by the law of nations ? The said ninth section is this : 
'* The migration, or importation of such persons in any of the States now 
existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress 
prior to the year 1808." The words, shall not be prohibited, implies beyond all 
doubt that the full power was taken for granted by the law of nations, to exist ; for it 
could exist by no other law whatever. Applying these principles, then, to the immi- 
gration of Aiatics, it is under the law of nations ;>that we claim that the United 
States or California, each in the sphere of its sovereignty, has the right to exclude 
Asiatics from its limits or domain. It may be necessary here to make a sort of 
digression, or episode from the main arguments, in order that all may understand 
the difference between migration of Asiatics and aliens of European birth. We shall 
not quote authority for it, though there is abundance of it, as the principle is at 
once apparent. Prescription, or custom, establishes a sort of quasi law, and 
where it has been the established usage to permit the free entry of aliens, as has 
been the case with the admission of aliens of European birth to our country, 
it would be unlawful, under the law of nations, without a long and formal notice 
given, to abrogate the right of such aliens to enter our country ; and not then, 
unless it could be clearly shown that danger to the State would arise therefrom. 
This is, however, the right that is gained by prescription or custom, and by no 
means destroys the right that every nation has to exclude aliens, except that the 
rights acquired by prescription, must be respected. Now, the Chinese, or Asiat- 
ics, have as yet acquired comparatively nothing by prescription, while Europeans 
have ; and herein lies the difference in the two cases. Herein lies the difference 
also, which leads into mistakes, those who would apply the same rule of law 
without modification, to the immigration of Asiatics and Europeans. Asiatics 
have gained no rights by prescription, while Europeans have, and yet the admis- 
sion or exclusion of both is under the law of nations. Europeans having had the 
prescriptive right from time immemorial of migration, it has come to be consid- 
ered constitutional right, when the right is not derived from that source at all ; 
and hence, reasoning from the case of Europeans, it is concluded arbitrarily, and 
from the most mistaken ideas and premises, that Asiatics, by the same rule, cannot 
be excluded ; and hence the idea, that to exclude aliens of any description is 

unconstitutional. The difference, however, is, that Asiatics have no prescriptive 
rights, while Europeans have ; and the right to exclude both are founded in the 
laws of nations, and not on constitutional law. Having established, as we believe, 
the inalienable right of a nation to admit or exclude aliens, which in our case 
must exist in the particular State, or the United States, each in the sphere of its 
sovereignty, and having supplied a hiatus never before filled, we will, before pro- 
ceeding to consider the peculiar sphere of the sovereignty of the State and the 
United States, in the complex form of our government, inquire whether there are 
not insuperable objections to the admission of the Chinese to this State. 

The rule as laid down by Vattel, is this : " That we are to do for others all 
that we can do, without neglecting the duties that we owe to ourselves. AVe are 
to inquire, then, whether, and in how much, and in what way the immigration of 
•the Chinese may be detrimental to the well-being, interests and happiness of the 
State. However true it may be in theory, orthodox in morals, or sound in phi- 
losophy, that all men are by nature free, equal and independent, yet the imper- 
fections and fallibilities of human nature are such, and so great, that all human 
wisdom has failed to reduce such theory to a living reality, or a practical truth. 
Taking existing facts, then, and not speculative truths, it is apparent from all expe- 
rience, that there must be with the white race, a wide difference between them 
and the other races of mankind. From some cause, natural or adventitious, the 
Caucasian race has, so far as history has come down to us, been paramount in 
wealth and power, pre-eminent in the arts and sciences, and most distinguished in 
literature, and whatever most adorns and renders illustrious the character of man. 
There is little room for wonder, then, that the Caucasian race, in its pride and 
power, looks down with a sense of superiority, upon the other races of mankind. 
In practical results, it makes no difference whether there be any right reason for 
such distinction or not ; the fact is unquestioned and unquestionable. It is within 
the province of the legislator only to build on facts, and the prejudice of race in 
modern times seems to be the fact of facts. It is the part, then, of wise states- 
manship, to accommodate itself to the imperfections of human nature in every 
exigency. That the contact of inferior races with the superior race is eminently 
prejudicial to the superior race, if not to both, is a proposition that few will deny. 
Even the contact of two distinct races, equal in mental, moral and social capaci- 
ties, could not fail to produce destruction and discord. The most perfect condi- 
tion of human society would seem to be that in which all are upon a perfect 
equality as to the exercise of natural rights, and all deviation from that as a ret- 
rograde movement. The immigration of the Chinese into California, is equiva- 
lent to the creation of a distinct caste. Before we legislate for such a purpose 
we had better look before we leap. We shall not expatiate upon the advantages 
or disadvantages of the presence of an inferior and servile race in our midst. 

The American people, of all others, need no instructions, or discussions, on 
such a topic. It is sufficient to say, that we believe that there is no one point in 
the range of political topics upon which there is in the United States so unani- 
mous a coincidence of sentiment, as upon the evils of the existence of an inferior 
race in our midst, nominally free, and yet, virtually slaves. It is the danger of 
establishing such a servile class within our limits, which in time will be beyond 
the power of the State to eradicate, if it is not already, that forms the chief ob- 
jection to the admission of the Chinese to our State. Indeed, the strongest argu- 
ment that can be adduced for the legitimacy of slavery, is the co-existence of an 
inferior and superior race in a State, thus producing an abnormal condition of 
society incompatible with the doctrine, that all men are free, equal and independ- 
ent. It would be worthily curious to inquire whether the association of two dis- 
tinct races, equal in mental, moral and social capacities, would not be productive 


of incurable mischief and discord. Perhaps an approximation to this may be 
found in the history of the Irish and Anglo-Saxon races in Ireland. But we are 
not left in doubt as to the effect of castes, even where the different castes are of 
the same race. In India, from time immemorial, the people have been divided 
into five different castes, no individual member of which has ever been allowed 
to eat, drink, sleep, or intermarry, with an individual not of his own caste. The 
effects of which may be seen in the fact, that from the time of Alexander the 
Great to the present, they have been ruled by Princes, or persons, of alien blood 
or birth. They are described by geographers as an indolent, spiritless, race, de- 
void of patriotism, and almost destitute of moral honesty. In modern times the 
power, wealth and civilization of European States, from whom we derive our 
origin, have advanced pasi passu with the abolition of feudal tyranny and serf- 
dom, of which England is an illustrious example. In all cases, under all circum- 
stances and all conditions, we find that different castes, whether founded upon 
distinction of race, or the civil organic law co-existing in the same community, 
has been productive of nothing but mischief, weakness and discord to the nation 
tolerating it. 

There is no instance on record, of any State, ancient or modern, which has 
attained to high eminence, the people of which have been composed of the dis- 
cordant elements of distinct races. 

Ancient Egypt is the most notable example of the kind, and even this is some- 
what in doubt ; but she never held anything more than her own. 

The peculiar propriety and applicability to the present case of all that we have 
advanced, we shall endeaver to render apparent. 

The question of Chinese immigration is entirely unique in its kind, and unex- 
ampled in the annals of nations. 

The population of China is immense, and almost beyond conception. Twice 
the population of the United States if abstracted from China would only relieve 
her, of a burden, but would overwhelm us. The consequence of an unrestricted 
immigration of the Chinese is hardly within the ken of human vision to foretell. 

A conservative position on this question would seem to be dictated by sound 
policy. But let us consider the immediate and obvious consequences of the im- 
migration of the Chinese to this State, which, in our opinion, will be the same, 
however numerous the immigration, unless, indeed, in process of events, they 
should become the dominant race. They are now considered a servile, inferior 
and degraded race. Their position is that of the mere laborer, and does not this 
derogate from the character and dignity of labor ? Does not this render labor- 
odious and degrading to the superior race ? Is the labor of the white man to be 
brought in competition with that of the Mongolian race ? And is not labor the 
sheet-anchor of our hopes ? the very foundation of our anticipated wealth and 
prosperity \ Who does not recognize labor as the foundation of wealth ? and shall 
we, for a temporary advantage, sacrifice all our prospects of the future ? 

Admitting that the migration of the Chinese might be of slight present ad- 
vantage, is that a compensation for all the consequences that may be entailed 
upon us by their unrestricted admission ? What is, and has been, the want of 
California \ Xot the want of men of the learned profession ; not the want of men 
of learning and science ; not the want of politicians and office-seekers, of which, 
God and the people know, we have had enough, such as they are or have been ; but 
men of bone and muscle, who will work and do something. This is what all wise 
and foreseeing men have been solicitous for ; but for our own sake do not fill the 
vacuum with Chinese, who will in the end make a greater vacuum than they fill. 
"What California wants to fulfill her destiny, is the migration of white men, with 
their wives to breed children; and not Chinese, either with or without wives, to 
render labor, (the noblest duty that man can perform,) dishonorable or degrading. 


Shall we degrade in the social scale our own beloved race, who are our own 
kith and kin, and thus degrade ourselves, and thus the whole community, except 
a priviledged aristocratic few who may be immeasurably exalted above us all ? 
The ridiculous and absurd assertions, that the Chinese labor does not affect the 
price and labor of white men, would be unworthy of notice were it not that it has 
been reiterated so often, that by mere force of repetition some may believe it. 
But is this question of labor in the present case exempt from the laws which gov- 
ern the price of labor in every other instance ? 

Labor is cheap in some countries and dear in others ; and till this present in- 
stance it has been held that its price is regulated by the laws of supply and demand ; 
when there is an abundance of goods in the market, prices are low, and Avhen there 
is a scarcity, high. We have heard of indulgences and dispensations granted by 
Popes and Kings, but we had supposed that these were not applicable to the laws 
of trade or prices, as regulated by the laws of supply and demand. It is singular 
that persons who value themselves so highly on their financial knowledge, as those 
constituting the commercial classes, should have needed information on so plain a 
point. And is this, which at best can be but a mere temporary advantage, to be 
the generous, lofty and high-souled principle of the policy and republicanism of the 
glorious and golden State of the Pacific ? "We think not, and we believe the people 
are of the same mind. Labor being incontestibly the foundation of wealth, and in 
a great measure in modern times the source of national power and greatness, it is a 
duty imperative upon us, as legislators, to see that the dignity of labor be neither 
sullied nor impaired. Labor of the mind or body is in the order of nature, and 
the inevitable conditions of our existence ; and all who disregard this fundamental 
law are recreant to the best interest of society and the State. We say, with all 
emphasis, that it is the true policy of the State that labor should be honored and 
respected. The interest of the State cannot be better subserved than by impress- 
ing upon the whole community the exalted worth and dignity of labor. If we 
would encourage production and lay on a solid basis the fabric of national great- 
ness and prosperity, we must elevate the laborer in his own esteem, and this can- 
not be done by rendering labor odious and degrading. The interest of the mines 
and miners, your Committee can say from their intimate knowledge of those 
interests, have heretofore been of considerable importance, and probably will be 
hereafter ; indeed we think the mines occupy in the scale about the same relative 
position in relation to agricultural and commerce, that agriculture does to manu- 
factures and commerce in the eastern States ; in short, that it is the great and 
distinguishing interest of California. That the interest of trade and commerce 
are of vital and indispensable importance to all classes, and none more than the 
mining class, cheerfully acknowledge, and will promote to the extent of their ca- 
pacities, all just and rightful extension and development of those interests, consist- 
ent wrth their own interest and the lasting interest of the State. 

The commercial classes, however, are but too apt to place too high an estimate 
upon their relative importance. From their centralization, publicity and concert 
of action, they are often, from the influence they wield, well nigh considered to be 
the State itself. The producers and consumers, however, in a well adjusted State, 
constitute the bulk of the community, while the office of the commercial class is 
simply to effect an exchange of products between the producer and consumer. 
Now, the bulk of the arguments in favor of the introduction of the Chinese, are 
mainly founded upon commercial consideration. 

The potency of the almighty dollar is invoked with special feivor in their be- 
half. We have held up to view the economical advantages to be derived from 
their utility as cultivators of rice, cotton, sugar and tobacco, the mere mention of 
which is fraught with painful suggestions. 

The hue and cry seems to be an increase of population, that consumption may 


be enhanced and trade may prosper, and the quantity, not the quality, is the only 
thing considered. This is about as senseless as for a man famished with hunger 
to fill up with saw-dust pudding instead of wholesome food. In the one case the 
man might be relieved by a purge; but alas! what physic could purge the State. 
The arguments urged for the unrestricted admission of the Chinese, by those who 
are the advocates of such policy, are weak, confused and contradictory. 

The grand proposition with them is, that California wants population; a propo- 
sition to which all are agreed. But when it is urged that by admitting this class 
of people, we are in danger of inflicting upon posterity, if not ourselves, the most 
appalling and incurable evils, we are then told that they are but temporary 
sojourners in the country, and nothing is to be apprehended from a permanent 
population of Mongolian blood. And yet these same advocates, with the coolest 
self-complacency and assurance, urge with great real or assumed gravity, the 
indispensable need and importance of an unrestricted immigration of this people, 
on every commercial, industrial, and even moral and physical consideration. 

Not only our financial interests, but the spirit of religion and philanthropy, are 
invoked in behalf of the cause. The true statesman must scan with philosophic 
eye the whole chain of causes and effects, the remote and ultimate consequences 
of measures no less than their immediate effects, and must not suffer himself to 
be persuaded too much by feelings, interests or sympathies, however worthy in 
themselves, which are only limited, transient and incidental. 

Your Committee are compelled to believe that all the appeals made for the 
unrestricted migration of the Chinese, are mainly founded upon considerations of 
a transient and temporary character. They are not insensible to the appeals of 
religion and philanthropy, but will say to those who they believe to have been 
actuated by the worthiest motives on these grounds, that David, the sweet singer 
of Israel hath prophesied that " I shall give thee (the Christian Nations) the 
heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the Earth for thy pos- 
session." It is implied from this prophecy that, though we may possess the 
birthright of the heathen, the heathen cannot possess ours, and that in a moment 
of forgetfulness they are asking for that which is rightfully ordained otherwise. 
The peculiar evil of California, which has eminently detracted from the wealth 
and prosperity of the State, has been the transient sojourn of its population within 
its limits. The people of the old States, in common with foreigners who have made 
their entrance and exit, accumulating and carrying their accumulations out of the 
State, has kept the State in poverty, besides inflicting upon us other evils. It may 
not be too much to say, that a large portion of the officers and legislators of the 
State have had no permanent or personal interests therein, and for that reason have 
not acted under a proper sense of the responsibilities which should have attached 
to their positions. If then the migration of the Chinese be of a temporary char- 
acter, it is for that reason objectionable. The real interests of California can never 
be much advanced but by the migration of those who will become permanent resi- 
dents, and who will here fix their home. We cannot see that a population of 
Mongolian blood, whether as inhabitants or sojourners, can add anything to the 
wealth, strength and glory of the State. 

We shall not enter into any disquisition upon the financial statistics that have 
been presented, showing the financial and commercial importance of the Chinese 
population, for the reason that we believe that no measures which will be recom- 
mended by us, will for a long time materially vary their aspect. Should the effect 
be to diminish that class, the diminution will be gradual, and can make no seri- 
ous revulsions. If these statistics, however, are presented for the purpose of 
showing the supposed advantages that may arise from an increased immigration, 
we can only say that in a question of this kind we must be governed by consid- 
erations of a higher character than dollars and cents. In this aspect of the case 


it cannot be said that we are annihilating or disturbing vested rights or existing 
interests. We are not unaware of the projects entertained of importing this 
people to this country. It has been announced, at least in one paper (the San 
Francisco Herald), that there is a project on foot, by means of associated capital, 
to import twenty-five thousand Chinese per year into the State. Should this be 
carried out without hindrance, other associations for the same object may not 
unlikely be originated. Should such projects be put in operation, your Commit- 
tee feel warranted in saying that the people of this State will most effectually 
nullify such proceedings, and in the event that other means fail, will appeal to the 
ultima ratio regum, and take the law into their own hands. The people of the 
mining regions, while they are graciously disposed to a sufferance of those who 
have come here upon what may be alleged to be an implied invitation, will in no 
event suffer themselves to be overwhelmed with further importations of these ter- 
restrial Celestials. History is pregnant with examples of direful evils entailed 
upon nations, from the most paltry gratification of a present selfishness and ava- 
rice. Slavery in America is an apt illustration of the great consequences that 
may flow from the smallest beginnings. The colonies were originally opposed to 
the introduction of slaves, but for a little benefit to commerce, Great Britain 
upheld the trade, regardless of future consequences and all remonstrances. To 
show the parallelism of that and this case, we will quote a little of history. At 
a Convention held at Williamsburgh, Virginia, August 1st, 1714, it was resolved, 
" We will neither ourselves import, nor purchase any slave or slaves, imported by 
any other person, after the first day of November next, either from Africa, the 
West Indies, or any other place." Mr. Jefferson addressed a letter to this Con- 
vention, in which he wrote as follows : " For the most trifling reasons,- and some 
times for no reason at all, his Majesty has rejected laws of the most salutary ten- 
dency. The abolition of domestic slavery is the object of greatest desire in those 
colonies where it was unhappily introduced in their infant state. But previous to 
the enfranchisement of the slaves, it is necessary to exclude all further importa- 
tions from Africa. Yet our repeated attempts to effect this by prohibition, and 
by imposing duties which might amount to prohibition, have been hitherto defeated 
by his Majesty's negative. Thus preferring the immediate advantages of a few 
African corsairs to the lasting interest of the American States, and so the rights 
of human nature was deeply wounded by this infamous master." 

The vetoes of all Acts passed by the colonies, repressing the introduction of 
slaves by the King of Great Britain, is what is referred to in the first specifica- 
tions in the Declaration of Independence, and in these words he has refused his 
assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. This is a 
perfect example of the immense consequences that may flow from the smallest 

The whole system of slavery in America has been the result of what origi- 
nated, as Mr. Jefferson says, in the paltry " immediate advantages of a few African 
corsairs," engaged in the slave trade. We do not speak of this in reference to 
any question of slavery, but simply to show that we must not give way to the 
clamors of those who are immediately interested in the further immigration of 
the Chinese. No mortal man can tell what the result of this Chinese immigra- 
tion may be. It is to be hoped that neither this State, or the United States, will 
be governed by any mere paltry consideration of dollars and cents in this matter. 
Not the least objection in the catalogue to the immigration of this people, be- 
cause it is without remedy, is this : That they cannot have the legitimate pro- 
tection of government, for the reason that they are incompetent to testify in our 
courts in most cases, where their testimony is of the least value. This works irre- 
parable injury to them, and is most corrupting and demoralizing to our own people. 
They are daily subjected to the most wanton and barbarous atrocities, and yet for 


want of their testimony, the perpetrators must go unwhipt of justice. There is 
nothing which so blunts the finer feelings of humanity, and deadens the moral 
sensibilities, as familiarity with crime and outrage. , The knowledge that murder 
and robbery may be committed on them with impunity, is an incentive and pre- 
mium to crime, and this powerfully tends to the subversion of public morals, yet 
we cannot, consistently with the duty we owe to ourselves, permit them to be com- 
petent witnesses against us, and this not for want of intelligence, or peculiarity 
of language, or color, but from an utter want of moral qualification. We reject 
as incompetent testimony, the evidence of one of our own race who is shown to 
be unworthy of belief, and on the same principle, we are justified in excluding the 
testimony of the Chinese. Missionaries, and all who have acquired a knowledge 
of Chinese character, uniformly agree that they are verily a nation of liars and 
unworthy of credit. Their religion, in all its systems and forms, is based on 
nothing that insures, or guarantees moral responsibility. Of the ideas which with 
us give sanctity to an oath, they have not the most remote conception. Bayard 
Taylor, a late eminent traveler, describes them as horribly depraved, beyond any- 
thing that can be conceived, and gives it as his opinion that the world has lost 
nothing by non-intercourse with them. 

The objections we have raised are, we think, sufficient to show that their 
presence among us is neither beneficial or desirable ; but on the contrary, highly 
detrimental to the welfare, safety and happiness of the State. But we deem it 
our duty to say something which may, if possible, mitigate the condition of this 
unfortunate people who are among us. We must not forget that they came among 
us in the first instance, under the sanction of an implied invitation. Good faith 
and honor, which should be as strictly observed in public affairs as private, dictates 
that we should not wantonly and vexatiously oppress them, whatever their defects 
and short-comings. We must not forget that they are, after all, human beings, the 
children of the same father, and destined to the same immortal existence. 

The duties that we owe to ourselves and our country, forbid that Ave should 
permit their future immigration, or admit them to an equality with ourselves ; but 
should, nevertheless, extend to them, so far as we can consistently, human sym- 
pathy and assistance, and should not subject them unduly to lifcrshness and 
cruelty. Many of these Chinese among us, we are credibly informed, are men 
of good education, fine feelings and much consideration in their own country; 
and yet such are oftentimes most unwarrantably and vexatiously annoyed with 
insults and impertinences unbecoming men who have any claim at all to the 
character of gentlemen, or even decent citizens. These things are wrong and 
should not exist. From such causes it is much to be feared that they will gain 
most unfavorable impressions of us, our ideas and institutions. It is an object of 
the highest importance that they should carry back with them to China, correct 
and favorable ideas of us and our institutions, for they are indeed a great nation. 

We will now inquire into the relative scope of the powers to prohibit or restrain 
the admission of aliens, as belonging to the State or General Government. 

That the right to exclude exists either in the State or General Government, or 
in both, is a certainty, for the right cannot be extinct. We have shown that 
Nations have the right, by the law of Nations, to exclude aliens. The proposition, 
Ave think, is evident, that both the State and United States, each in the appro- 
priate sphere of its sovereign powers, has the right of exclusion. 

The right to exclude aliens arises from the rights of domain and sovereignty. 
The United States has its domain and sovereignty, and each State has its domain 
and sovereignty ; and the measure of the domain and sovereignty of each, is the 
measure of the right of each to exercise the power. 

The objects of the General Government are, to insure domestic tranquility, 
provide for the common defense, promote the general Avelfare, and secure the 
blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. As the General Government 


has the chief care of our external affairs with other nations, it would seem that 
they have the paramount power to admit or exclude aliens in all cases in the 
peculiar province of our foreign relations and the regulations of foreign commerce. 
The external relations of the Government concerns war, navigation, commerce, and 
international intercourse. To the full extent of these limits, objects and purposes, 
the General Government must have the undoubted power to admit aliens, either 
with, without or against, the consent of any State ; but such exclusive power to 
admit, can only be exercised in relation to war, navigation, commerce and foreign 
intercourse. Thus, no State would have the right to exclude any aliens engaged 
in navigation and commerce ; nor could the State prevent the mere passage 
through its territory, of aliens, against the will of the General Government. 

But the power of the General Government here ceases, as against the will of 
the State to exclude aliens. Whatever relates to domicil, residence, or inhabi- 
tancy, or other occupation than navigation, commerce, errands of war, passage 
through the territory of the State, or a temporary sojourn for a limited time, or 
for a special purpose, within the limits of the State, belongs exclusively, and 
appertains, to the State, which she may determine as to the exclusion of aliens, 
either with, without, or against the will of the General Government. 

As to the question, whether the General Government has the right to prohibit 
the entrance within the limits of the United States of aliens, Avith, without, or 
against, the consent of the individual States, that is a more difficult and compli- 
cated question, which, happily, it is not necessary to solve in the present instance. 

It seems to us that, with the exception of the power of the General Govern- 
ment to enact a total prohibition of the admission of aliens, we have well defined 
the limits of the powers of the States, and the General Government to admit or 
exclude aliens, as with, without, or against, the consent of each. 

If our reasons and conclusions be correct, then we have the undoubted right to 
exclude the Chinese from admission to the State for all purposes, except as has 
been excepted in the foregoing ; and if we have the right, there being ample 
reasons for their exclusion, they should be excluded, or at least restrained. The 
tax proposed to be laid, it is true, does not go to the length of total exclusion, but 
is in the nature of a restraint or virtual prohibition. If there be a right to ex- 
clude entirely, all measures short of that must be lawful, as the greater includes 
the less. We do not deem it necessary to go at greater length into the argument, 
though, perhaps, we might profitably do so. We do not see how the arguments 
and propositions that have been used and embodied in the numerous decisions in 
the different courts upon this subject, can be based upon different grounds and 
reasons than those we have advanced. The decisions, it is true, are more in the 
nature of conclusions than an elaboration of the elemental principles on which 
they are based. We shall give some of the decisions of the courts, that it may 
be seen how far they may be in consonance, concord and harmony, with what we 
have previously written. Although it is undoubtedly a presumption on the part 
of your Committee to have attempted so much, still, as the subject is one of 
engrossing public interest, which seemed most imperatively to have demanded 
examination, they thought they might, at least, make a beginning and, perhaps, 
be the means of making some suggestion which abler hands and wiser heads 
might at a future time perfect. 

We have remarked once in the report, that the express provision to exclude 
aliens is not in the Constitution, but the right is by the law of nations, and that 
this is proved by the 9th section of the Constitution,*which contains no positive 
grant of power at all, but is only a limitation of an ample power possessed under 
the law of nations. 

The existence, however, of this limiting clause, or section of the Constitution," 
proves absolutely the existence of the power which could only exist under the 


law of nations. One thing may be justly claimed from the doctrines we have 
advanced, that we may not lay a capitation tax for the purpose of prohibition on 
Chinese merchants, or traders, against the will of the General Government. 

But this power of prohibition is a concurrent power with the States and the 
General Government, and probably in every instance, (except the right of the 
paramount power of the General Government to exclude aliens from the whole 
limits of the Union, which we have not here discussed) ; and in the absence of 
any regulation on the part of the United States, the State does not usurp any 
authority in making a regulation for itself. 

By the Supreme Court of the United States it has been well established, as a true 
general rule, that notwithstanding a grant to Congress in express terms, if the States 
are not directly forbidden to act, it does not give to Congress exclusive authority 
over the matter, but the State may exercise a similar power, unless from the na- 
ture of the subject, and its relation to the General Government, a prohibition is 
fairly, or necessarily, implied. [7 Howard, p. 533.] Chief Justice Taney says : 
" This power, (the power to regulate commerce), although expressly delegated to 
Congress, is not prohibited to the States — as in the power to levy duties on im- 
ports — and each State still retains the right to regulate its own commerce, subject 
always to the paramount enactments of Congress in its proper sphere." 

Chief Justice Taney, in the case of Smith v. Turner, 7 How. 465, observes : 
" The first inquiry is, whether, under the Constitution, the Federal Government has 
the power to compel the several States to receive, and suffer to remain in associa- 
tion with its citizens, every person, or class of persons, whom it may be the policy 
or pleasure of the United States to admit. If the people of the States of this 
Union reserved to themselves the power of expelling from their borders any per- 
son, or class of persons, whom it might deem dangerous to its peace, or likely to 
produce physical or moral evil among its citizens, then any treaty, or law of Con- 
gress invading this right, and authorizing the introduction of any person, or 
description of persons, against the consent of the States, would be an usurpation 
of power which this court could neither recognize nor enforce. I had supposed 
this question not now open to dispute. It was distinctly decided in Holmes v. 
Jennison, 14 Peters, 540 ; in Groves v. Slaughter, 15 Peters, 449 ; and in Pregg 
v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 16 Peters, 539. 

If these cases are to stand, the right of the State is undoubted, and it is equally 
clear, that, if it may remove from among its citizens any person, or description of 
persons, whom it regards as injurious to its welfare, it follows that it may meet 
them at the threshold, and prevent them from entering ; for there could be no 
reason, of policy or humanity, for compelling the State, by the power of Con- 
gress, to imbibe the poison, and then leaving them to find a remedy for it by their 
own exertions, and at their own expense. Certainly no such distinction can be 
found in the Constitution, and such a division of power would be an inconsis- 
tency, not to say an absurdity, for which I presume no one will contend. The 
power of determining who is, or who is not dangerous to the interest and well 
being of the people of the State, has been uniformly admitted to reside in the 
State. I think it therefore to be very clear, both upon principle and the author- 
ity of adjudged cases, that the several States have a right to remove from among 
their people, and to prevent from entering the State, any person, or class, or 
description of persons, whom it may deem dangerous or injurious to the interests 
and welfare of its citizens, and that the State has the exclusive right to determide, 
in its sound discretion, whether the danger does, or does not exist, free from the 
eontrol of the General Government." 

Although your Committee on Mines and Mining Interests have viewed the 
matter referred to them with reference to those interests, yet they express them- 
selves on general principles of a wise public policy, which they believe applies, 


and ought to be applied, to all the classes of the State. We will remark, that 
the treaty existing between the United States and China, does not provide that 
the people of China may have free admission to the limits of the United States, 
or the States ; there is, therefore, nothing in that that in any way interferes with 
the action of this State in excluding Chinese either had, or proposed to be had, 
on that subject. We, therefore, recommend that the amount of the immigration 
tax, imposed by the law of 1855, should be retained, and that the licenses for 
working in the mines should be fixed at four dollars per month ; and report bills 
for those purposes and recommend their passage. 

J. E. BO WE, 
Committee on Mines and Mining Interests. 




Gaylord Bros., Inc. 

Stockton, Calif. 

PAT. IAN. 21, 1908