Mr. Denby to Mr. Blaine.
Peking, June 10, 1889. (Received July 22.)
Sir: The spread of the Chinese race into the dependencies of European powers in the east is interesting as illustrating its vitality, perseverance, and colonizing qualities.
From late sources I have prepared the following statement of the Chinese population in the more important eastern localities.
The population of Hong-Kong, by the census of 1881, was 160,402. Of this number the foreign population was 8,000. These figures (8,000) include the entire transient population, of which only 3,000 were permanent residents. It is estimated that the total population is now 200,000, of which probably 190,000 are Chinese.
According to the returns made in 1879, the population of Macao was, Chinese 63,532, Portuguese 4,476, other nationalities 78, or a total of 68,086. It is thought that there has been no increase since 1879, but rather a decline.
The population of Nagasaki, Japan, was, in 1887, 38,229. The number of foreigners was 1,031, of whom 741 were Chinese. The population of Kobe in 1887 was 101,231, of whom 1,139 were foreigners, the Chinese numbering 724. The population of Osaka in 1887 was 361,694. Of foreign residents there were 284, of whom 185 were Chinese. The population of Tokio in 1885 was 1,207,847. There were 300 foreign residents, but I am unable to state the number of Chinese. The native population of Yokohama is 89,545. The number of foreign residents in 1887 was 3,821, of whom 2,359 were Chinese. According to the census of 1883 there were residing in Manila of European origin 4, 189 European Spaniards, 15, 157 Chinese, 46,066 Chinese Mestizos (half-breeds), 3,849 Spanish half-breeds, and 160,896 pure natives. The population of Saigon, the capitol of Cochin China, was, December 31, 1886, 18,009, of whom 8,986 were Annamites and 6,649 Chinese. The French population numbers 1,257, and other Europeans 97. In Haiphong, the shipping port of Hanoi, in Tonquin, the Chinese population is about 4,700 and the Annamite 3,800, the foreign population being [Page 111] 323. In Borneo the Chinese conduct all the trading operations. In British North Borneo there are many Chinese, but I am unable to state their number. In Labuan, the smallest British colony in Asia, with a population of 6,000, 1,000 are Chinese. The Chinese are the chief traders and most of the industries of the island are in their hands. The number of Chinese in Siam is estimated at 1,300,000. The population of Singapore Island, according to the census of 1881, was 139,208, of whom 86,768 were Chinese and 22,114 Malays. The European community consists in the main of English and Germans, and numbers, with 783 military, a total of 2,769. In Malacca, with a population of 93,579, there are 19,741 Chinese. In Sungie Ujong the Chinese form a large proportion of the population of 30,000. In Selangor, with a population of 97,106, 78,155 are Chinese. The Chinese are a large part of the population of Perak, being estimated at 47,000, while the Malays are about 53,000. In Penang, out of a total population of 244,000, the Chinese number 67,502.
It will be seen from this cursory exhibit that the Chinese are overrunning contiguous commercial points in the East. They are gradually absorbing business and ousting other native and foreign traders. In China proper, even at the open ports, they are dangerous rivals to foreign merchants. They make no display, do not leave their business to compradors; rely on quick returns, and, owing to a wide-spread system of mutual responsibility, they are generally honest, and meet all their obligations.
It is easy to be seen that the time will come in the “far East” when the same objections to their presence which have been heard in the United States and Australia will be loudly uttered. They seem to possess the faculty of absorbing even their conquerors. Thus the Chinese have absorbed the Mongolians and the Manchus, and with their religion, their arts, and their government they dominate these races. Wherever they go in the East they become the masters of trade. The mutterings against them are loud in every locality where they are settled. But their compact conservatism, their industry and their economical habits enable them to win their way over all opposition short of absolute exclusion.
I have, etc.,