No. 204.
Mr. Daggett to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 138.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a communication from the Hawaiian minister of foreign affairs in relation to the several orders issued since last June for the regulation of Chinese immigration to these islands. These orders (copies of which I have from time to time transmitted to you) provided—

For an entire suspension of Chinese immigration;
For a Chinese immigration embracing both sexes to an extent not exceeding 600 in any three months; and
Restricting such immigration to 25 in any one vessel.

[Page 283]

A copy of the latter order was an inclosure in my dispatch of March 26 last, No. 135.

With the arrival from Hong-Kong of the steamship Arabic on the 10th instant, with between 500 and 600 Chinese laborers, it is announced by the official organ of the Government that all immigration authorized by the second order above referred to has ceased, and until further notice the existing regulation (25 in any one vessel) will be enforced.

Very respectfully, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 138.]

Mr. Gibson to Mr. Daggett.

Sir: In my letter of 13th ultimo, dealing with the subject of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company’s complaint, I had the honor to inform your excellency that an order had been issued, and communicated to His Majesty’s diplomatic and consular representatives at Washington, San Francisco, and elsewhere, that Chinese passengers coming here (not already furnished with official permits) in numbers exceeding twenty-five in any one vessel will not be allowed entrance into the Kingdom.

I now have the honor to transmit a copy of regulations for the admission of Chinese immigrant laborers, embodying the provisions above alluded to, which have been made and published under the authority of the resolution of His Majesty in cabinet council referred to in my letter already quoted.

In doing so I deem it right to address to you, as the representative of a friendly power which always manifests a kindly interest in the welfare of this Kingdom, a few remarks upon the circumstances which have led the Government to issue these regulations.

In April of last year I had the honor to send you a copy of a resolution of His Majesty in cabinet council, passed in consequence of the extraordinary influx of Chinese men into the country, with the prospect of an injurious increase.

The terms in which you expressed to me your satisfaction at the course taken by the Government assure me that it is not necessary to enlarge upon the undesirability of permitting large numbers of male Chinese to be added to our small population, of which their countrymen already form so large a part, and in which the disproportion of the sexes, chiefly caused by importation of Chinese men, is so very great. The protest made at that time by the Government had the effect of stopping the immigration against which it was directed. At a later period of the year, however, such representations were made by the employers of labor here as led the Government to feel, that it would be well to allow small numbers of Chinese laborers to be brought in from time to time to supply the places of those who return to their native country. An exlusive leave was then granted to the companies running regular lines of steamers between China and San Francisco to bring in this limited number of laborers. Subsequently another company proposed to establish a Hawaiian line of steamers to ply between Honolulu and Asiatic ports, and to encourage such an important domestic enterprise the Government promised the privilege of carrying Chinese immigrant laborers to this country to the new line in the event of its establishment. Notice was then given (under date of October 15, 1883) to the agents of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company and the Oriental and Occidental Steamship Company that their permission to bring such passengers here would cease on the 1st of January of this year. The Pacific Mail Steamship Company, regardless of the action of the Government and of the strong public feeling which exists here on the subject, made arrangements to bring to Honolulu between two and three thousand Chinese male laborers within the space of a few weeks. Their example has apparently encouraged other ship-owners to attempt the same course, since, according to the information furnished to the Government, at least one other steamship (not belonging to any established line) is on the way here with a full complement of passengers of the same class.

Under these circumstances the Government deemed it desirable, pending the meeting of the Legislative Assembly, to make and publish new regulations for the control of this traffic, instead of reverting to the absolute prohibition of last year. The Pacific Mail Steamship Company had already in February last been informed that whilst small numbers of Chinese males arriving here in their boats via San Francisco, even up to 100 at a time, would not be interfered with, any larger numbers would be [Page 284] treated specially, and, if admitted at all, the men would be subjected to a period of quarantine and their effects to fumigation; and the company were further informed that any attempt to bring Chinese coolies in ship-loads would certainly be met by a positive refusal to allow landing.

On the 15th of last month a copy of regulations almost identical with those I now forward you was sent to San Francisco, and would be immediately communicated to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, with the intimation that His Majesty’s consul-general at Hong-Kong had received notice by cable of the intention of this Government positively to resist the immigration of coolies. That company has therefore had the most ample warning of the wishes and intentions of the Government. The landing of the Chinese who arrived by the steamers City of Rio de Janeiro and City of Tokio was nevertheless acquiesced in by the Government, because their passengers were represented to have been contracted for previous to the expiring of the permission which the Pacific Mail Steamship Company formerly held. But as that permission expressly stipulated that not more than 600 Chinese laborers should be introduced into the country in any period of three months, there is no valid reason for any further acquiescence. The bringing here in rapid succession of parties of several hundreds of coolies is manifestly an open defiance of the wishes and of the rights of the Government and people of this Kingdom.

In conclusion I have to state that measures dealing with the whole subject of Chinese immigration will be submitted for the consideration of the Legislative Assembly at its approaching session.

With the assurance of my highest consideration,

I have, &c.,


His Excellency Rollin M. Daggett,
United States Minister Resident.