No. 46.
Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Young.

No. 316.]

Sir: I herewith transmit, for your information, a copy of a note* from the chargé d’affaires ad interim of China here, of the 31st ultimo, stating that twenty-four Chinese merchants, with proper certificates under the law of May 6, 1882, had lately arrived at San Francisco, and had been refused permission to land because of a non-compliance with the law of July 5, 1884, a copy of which is herewith inclosed.

As these Chinese were at sea when the act was passed, and as the ship on which they arrived sailed on her return voyage the 7th instant, I immediately brought the matter to the attention of the Secretary of [Page 100] the Treasury, as desired by the Chinese chargé. I said to Mr. Folger that the collector’s construction of the law seemed to be erroneous, and, under the circumstances of this particular case (as it was manifestly impossible for the Chinese merchants to comply with a law which was not in existence when they departed for the United States), unnecessarily severe. I therefore requested him to telegraph instructions to the collector of San Francisco permitting them to land.

I have received a letter from the Acting Secretary of the Treasury, dated the 31st of July ultimo, in which he states that the following telegram has been sent to the said collector, viz:

Allow twenty-four Chinese merchants who arrived at your port on 28th instant to land, without exacting evidence required by act of July 5, 1884.

I have had pleasure in acquainting, by a note of the 2d instant, the Chinese chargé d’affaires ad interim of this decision of the Acting Secretary of the Treasury.

In conclusion I may observe that consideration is now being given to the law of July 5, 1884, which prohibits the landing of Chinese laborers at any port or place in the United States except as provided in section 4. The act also changes somewhat the form of certificate under which this privileged class of His Majesty’s subjects may go from and come to the United States. As soon, therefore, as the matter is finally determined, you will be given copies of the correspondence, for your information.

I am, &c.,

  1. For note referred to see page 112.