to Mr. Evarts.
Lima, Peru, April 11, 1878. (Received May 4.)
Sir: I beg to refer to my dispatches No. 107, of November 13, 1876, and No. 147, of May 11 last, referring to Chinese in this country. The steamer Perusia, the first of the line established for emigration of Chinese from Hong-Kong, arrived at Callao March 2, ultimo, with a full cargo of merchandise, but no emigrants. Mr. Geary, of the house of Olyphant & Co., of Hong-Kong, the originators of this enterprise, arrived with the steamer to explain to this government the cause of the vessel leaving the above port without passengers. It appears that the house of Olyphant & Co. had over 1,000 laborers only too willing to come to this country, the ship being fitted in good style, with good accommodations between decks, and all prepared, when Mr. Pope Hennesey, colonial governor of Hong-Kong, prohibited the men from embarking, under some law that was passed during the excitement of the coolie trade, which made it a penal offense, with fines and confiscation of the vessel, to take any person from that port under contract without the sanction or license of the government; but as that referred to a different matter—the infamous coolie trade—and this being a legitimate business of emigration, with contracts to pay the passage after arrival here, in the same manner that emigrants are now leaving United States port’s for Australia; it appears to have been a great stretch of technicalities. This voyage of the steamer, I learn, has entailed a heavy pecuniary loss on the contractors, but they appear rather disposed to bear it than in any way directly or indirectly to infringe laws or technicalities.
I have not altered my ideas as regards the treatment of the Chinese, as reported in my dispatches above referred to, written some months ago.
I have had more opportunities of studying the question, through time and a more extended observation, and cannot fail to see that the Chinese are as well treated and protected as any other class, natives or foreigners.
I am, &c.,