You will notice, in reading this treaty, that the views presented to the
Chinese by my predecessor, Mr. Avery, in regard to the evils of contract
emigration have prevailed; that such emigration will not be permitted in the
future, and that voluntary emigration is provided for under guarantees which
have seemed suitable to the contracting parties.
I see nothing in this part of the convention to criticize; on the contrary,
the stipulations agreed upon, if faithfully enforced and observed, cannot
but prove mutually beneficial.
The third, the sixth, and subsequent articles provide more particularly for
the appointment of Chinese consular officers in Cuba, and the treatment to
be accorded to Chinese subjects resident in that island. The important
features of this part of the treaty are as follows:
While it may be said that there is a degree of ambiguity in the stipulation
that the Chinese in Cuba shall be entitled to “the most favorable treatment
accorded to the subjects of the same class of other high powers,” it may be
urged, on the other hand, that a more precise stipulation could not,
perhaps, have been safely agreed to by Spain, looking to the fact that the
element which is the subject of negotiation is one which cannot readily
conform its condition to those of the born subjects of Spain or those of
I do not need to dwell upon this point in order to illustrate the
difficulties which must be encountered in dealing with a large Chinese
laboring population in a Western country.
How far the Spanish authorities will be able to carry out their agreement to
repatriate the Chinese of classes named cannot be foretold. Peru has not yet
sent back any under similar stipulations, and neither government will be
likely to do so, unless held to their contracts rigidly by the
representatives of China.
The settlement of the difficulties between Spain and China, thus arrived at,
must be considered fortunate for the relations of other powers with China. A
great deal of information in regard to the sufferings of the Chinese in Cuba
has been given to this government and scattered over the empire, and the
good name of all Western peoples has been more or less compromised in
consequence. We have every reason, therefore, to be satisfied that a
settlement has been reached, and need not be sorry to learn that it is one
which the Chinese think especially favorable to themselves.
The “Sovrana case,” which has been alluded to from time to time in my
dispatches, was closed by the Spanish minister coincidently with the
conclusion of the larger negotiations. The government paid a reduced sum as
indemnity for the pillage of the ship and cargo, amounting, with interest,
to about $18,000.
[Inclosure to inclosure 1 in No.
text of convention agreed upon.
Their Majesties, the Emperor of China and the King of Spain, being
desirous to establish new regulations for the emigration of Chinese
subjects to the island of Cuba and their residence there, and in order
to avoid misunderstandings in the future, have for this purpose
delegated full powers, on the part of His Majesty the Emperor of China
to Shên, Mao, Tung, Cheng and Hsia, minister of the foreign office,
&c., and on the part of His Majesty the King of Spain to Señor de
España, minister to China, &c., who have mutually agreed upon the
I. Since there is hereafter to be no emigration under contract to labor,
such contracts will not be executed, and the clauses in the treaty
between the Governments of Spain and China, signed at Tientsin October
10, 1864, which provided for the emigration of Chinese under contract to
labor, are invalid and of no effect, excepting that the clause in the
tenth article of the said treaty, which declares that Chinese fugitives
from justice shall not be harbored, shall be observed as heretofore.
II. The emigration under contract to labor having heretofore not been
entirely satisfactory, it is mutually agreed by the two governments
that, these abuses having now been remedied, all claims for indemnity
heretofore put forward on either part are waived.
III. It is mutually agreed by the two high contracting powers that
hereafter the emigration of the subjects of either, whether of single
individuals or of such persons with their families, shall be entirely
free and voluntary on the part of such subjects, and the high
contracting powers, therefore, agree not to consent to the employment of
fraud or violence, either at the ports of China or in other places, or
the use of fraud of any sort, by which Chinese subjects shall be led to
emigrate without their free will and consent. In case the captains of
vessels or other subjects of either power violate this stipulation, the
high contracting parties pledge themselves to punish such offenders
severely, according to the heaviest penalties provided by the laws of
their respective governments for such offenses.
The government of Spain further agrees to accord to Chinese subjects now
resident in Cuba, or who may hereafter proceed thither, the most
favorable treatment which is accorded in that island to the subjects of
the same class of other high powers.
IV. The Government of China agrees that if at any of the ports open to
foreign trade there shall be Chinese male or female subjects desirous of
emigrating at their own expense to Cuba, to allow them to do so, and to
interpose no obstacles. And it further agrees to instruct the customs
intendants at the several ports open to foreign trade, and the local
authorities, to see to it that the vessels of any nationality within the
limits of their respective ports, and which may desire to receive as
passengers Chinese subjects, according to the terms of this second
treaty, for emigration, are provided with the necessary accommodations
and supplies for the use of their emigrant passengers. In case the
owners, charterers, and other parties connected with the said vessels
comply with the stipulations of this convention, the custom intendants
and local authorities shall interpose no hindrances.
V. The customs intendants and local authorities of the ports mentioned
shall make thorough examination, in order to satisfy themselves that the
provisions of this convention are complied with by and in behalf of
Chinese subjects desiring to go abroad must first report their names and
be registered [Page 99] at the office of
the customs intendant, and apply for a sealed passport, the form of
which will be prepared by the respective intendants. This passport,
having been sent by the intendant to the Spanish consul for his
countersignature and seal, will then be delivered by the intendant to
the emigrant, who may then embark and proceed to his destination.
Upon arrival of the ship in Cuba, the proper official of the port shall
hand over the original passport as signed and sealed by the customs
intendant to the Chinese consul for examination.
At the several ports open to foreign trade in China, the customs
intendant may appoint a deputy and the Spanish consul will also depute
an official to personally examine ships carrying emigrants. If Chinese
subjects not provided with the passport of the customs intendant are
found on board, they shall at once be put on shore.
If, on arrival in Cuba, Chinese emigrants, unprovided with the
intendant’s passport, are found on board, the Spanish authorities of the
port shall, in concert with the Chinese consul, devise a suitable
The owners or charterers of vessels shall report in advance the time at
which they desire to sail, in order that the deputies may make their
inspection, and that no delays or misunderstandings may arise. In case
the captain of any vessel shall fail to comply with this rule, and shall
attempt to sail without awaiting inspection, the authorities of the port
will address the Spanish consul, who shall withhold the ship’s papers,
seize the vessel, and deal with her according to Spanish law. Thereafter
and upon compliance with these regulations she may be allowed to
VI. The Government of China will at once appoint a consul-general to
reside at Havana, in the island of Cuba. In addition thereto, China may
appoint consular officials at all other ports and places where similar
officers of any other power are permitted to reside. Consular officers
appointed by China shall conduct themselves in accordance with
established rules and precedents, and Spain agrees to accord them the
same treatment granted to officers of other powers in Cuba.
Spanish officials in Cuba will assist, to the extent of their power, the
consul-general, consuls, vice-consuls, and similar officers whom the
Government of China may appoint, in order that they may accomplish the
object of their mission and secure protection for Chinese subjects in
VII. It is agreed that Chinese in Cuba, may leave the island and proceed
to other parts at their own option. Bat criminals awaiting trial are not
included in this stipulation. Arrangements will be perfected, consistent
with the privileges accorded in the third article of this convention, by
which Chinese residents in the island may travel at will and engage in
business. These arrangements will be made either by the secretary of
state far Spain, acting in conjunction with the Chinese minister to
Spain, or by the local authorities at Havana, in conjunction with the
consul-general for China at that port. They shall secure to Chinese
subjects the privileges accorded by this convention, which declares that
they shall receive the most favorable treatment accorded to the subjects
of the same class of other high powers. But inasmuch as the arrangements
to be made must conform to local police regulations, including all
police regulations, hereafter made, it is agreed that the local Spanish
authorities shall furnish each person with a permit to travel which
shall be in style and form: the same as those famished to subjects or
citizens of other nations.
VIII. Chinese subjects who may have occasion to appear in the Spanish
courts of justice in Cuba, either to support or defend their rights,
shall, whether appearing as plaintiffs or defendants, enjoy the same
rights and privileges as are accorded to the subjects or citizens of
other powers. Chinese subjects having business in the courts of justice
may employ legal advice and interpreters in their behalf, either Spanish
or foreign, and they shall be permitted either to employ such assistance
personally or to request the Chinese consular authorities to secure it
for them. Bat the persons employed by them must be such as are
authorized by the laws of Spain to practice in the courts.
As there are those among the Chinese now resident in Cuba who, prior to
the exchange of the ratifications of this convention, have made
complaint of grievances, it is permitted to them to bring their suit
before the Spanish courts for redress, and these courts will hear each
case and administer strict justice in the same manner as is permitted to
subjects of other powers.
IX. The consul-general to be appointed by the Government of China to
reside at Havana shall at once, in conjunction with the local
authorities, establish regulations which shall provide for the suitable
registration of all Chinese subjects now in Cuba or who may hereafter
proceed thither. These books of registration shall be kept in the office
of the consul-general. Each person shall be furnished by the consul with
a certificate of registration, which shall be exhibited by him at each
city, town, or plantation to which the bearer may go for inspection.
The local authorities in Cuba shall at once furnish the Chinese consular
officers with a list of the names of all Chinese subjects resident in
any part of the island, and shall devise suitable facilities to enable
the Chinese consular authorities to proceed to [Page 100] the cities, towns, and plantations of the island,
in order that they may personally examine into the actual condition of
such Chinese as are held to labor under contracts.
X. Vessels of any power which may be desirous of embarking Chinese
emigrants shall, in addition to complying with the requirements of this
convention, obey the regulations of their respective governments, in
order to avoid lack of suitable accommodations or medical care of the
sick on shipboard. Any vessels which may fail to comply with these two
classes of regulations will not be allowed to embark emigrants.
XI. It is to be feared that among the Chinese now held to contract labor
in Cuba are some persons who have been hitherto either students or
officials in China, with their families. The Government of Spain, as an
expression of its commiseration, and from sincere friendship and amity,
desires to return all persons of these classes from Cuba to China, at
its own expense, which will be done after the exchange of the
ratifications of this convention. The Chinese consul-general and
consular officers will, however, inform themselves as to the particulars
in each case, and communicate them to the local authorities. Thereupon
the said authorities will make a particular examination, and if the
facts in each case are found to be as reported, they will cause the
parties concerned to be returned to China.
Chinese subjects now held to contract labor in Cuba who are incapacitated
by age from work, and Chinese orphans and widows who may desire to leave
the island and return to China, will be sent home, at its own expense,
by the Spanish Government.
XII. Among the Chinese laborers now in Cuba, whose term of contract has
expired, in case the original contract contained language binding their
employers to return them to China, the Government of Spain will cause
the said employers to comply with its terms.
Among the Chinese laborers now in Cuba, are those whose original contract
has been completed, but which did not specify that the laborers should
be returned to China.
As it is to be feared that some persons in this class have not means
wherewith to meet the expenses of a passage home, the Cuban local
authorities will, in concert with the Chinese consular officers, devise
suitable measures for their return.
Chinese laborers now in Cuba whose term of labor has expired, shall,
after exchange of ratifications of this convention, be furnished with a
certificate that their terms of labor have been completed, and shall be
entitled, to all the privileges stipulated in Article VII. They shall be
at liberty to continue to reside in the island or to leave it for other
XIII. In case the local authorities of the island of Cuba shall at any
time find such excessive accumulations of Chinese in any part of the
island as to endanger the peace and good order of the locality, the
given authorities will take measures to prevent Chinese subjects from
proceeding thither, and will inform the consular officers that Chinese
are not allowed to dwell there, in the same manner as is provided for
the subjects of other powers.
In circumstances of this sort, the provisions of Article VII which give
Chinese subjects the right to go and come at will, will be
XIV. Chinese laborers in Cuba whose contracts have not been fulfilled,
will be required to complete their terms of labor according to the
specifications of their engagement. In all other matters, regarding
passports, liberty to go and come at will, Chinese who have recently
arrived in Cuba shall be entitled to all the privileges and protection
accorded to those whose contracts have been completed. All Chinese
laborers now detained in the several labor depots in Cuba will, upon the
exchange of ratifications of this convention, be at once released, and
the passports and other papers to which they are by the terms of this
convention entitled, will be issued to them. They will in all cases be
accorded the same treatment as is given to the same class of laborers in
their localities. Criminals whose cases have not been decided will,
however, be held in custody to await trial.
XV. If, in future, the Governments of China or Spain desire a
modification or the withdrawal of any of the stipulations contained in
this treaty, notice must be given at least one year in advance, of the
desire to open negotiations to that effect.
In case China shall, hereafter, grant any concessions or privileges in
the matter of Chinese emigration, not given in this convention, to any
other powers, such privileges and concessions shall also be enjoyed by
the Government of Spain.
XVI. The present treaty shall be ratified by their Majesties the Emperor
of China and the King of Spain, and the ratifications exchanged at the
capital of China within a period of eight months from its date, or
sooner if possible.
Done at Peking,
in duplicate copies in French, Spanish, and Chinese, each copy being
signed and sealed by the high authorities delegated, this seventeenth day of November, in the year
of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-seven, being
the thirteenth day of the tenth moon of the third year of Kwang