Mr. Gresham to Mr. Yang Yü.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 11th instant, reporting the difficulties that beset Chinese subjects in certain quarters in obtaining certificates of registration. I at once brought a copy of your note to the attention of the Secretary of the Treasury with a request that the same be given prompt consideration, and inclose for your information a copy of Mr. Carlisle’s reply of the 13th instant, from which it will be observed that his Department is making extraordinary efforts to secure, within the time fixed by law, the registration of all Chinese laborers who are entitled to registration, and that he has no reason, to believe that any considerable number will fail to procure certificates on account of the want of time.

In the matter of the charge that persons of questionable character are acting in collusion with certain registering clerks and demanding payment of a fee of $7 for each certificate, I may add that the Treasury Department has no information tending to warrant the belief that any of its officers are engaged in such unlawful practices. The charges will, however, be fully investigated, and should it be found that registering officers have been guilty of any wrong doing in this relation, the promise is made that they will be summarily dealt with and promptly dismissed from the service.

Accept, etc.,

W. Q. Gresham.
[Inclosure.]

Mr. Carlisle to Mr. Gresham.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 11th instant, transmitting a copy of a note from the Chinese minister in relation to the alleged difficulties experienced in certain quarters [Page 165]by Chinese applicants for registration certificates, and in response thereto I forward herewith a letter from Hon. J. S. Miller, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, whose Bureau has charge of this matter.

The Department is making extraordinary efforts to secure, within the time fixed by the law, the registration of all Chinese laborers who are entitled to registration, and I have no reason to believe that any considerable number will fail to procure certificates on account of the want of time.

In order to facilitate the registration of those who are unable to appear personally before the collectors or deputy collectors of internal revenue, the revised regulations, which were promulgated on the 25th of November last, contained a provision which permitted deputy collectors to receive applications and affidavits of witnesses, sworn to at the applicant’s expense before a clerk of the court, notary public, or other officer, with his seal attached, qualified to administer oaths, accompanied by a certificate of the officer who administered the oath, that the descriptive list in the application is in all respects correct and complete, and that the photographs submitted are correct likenesses of the applicant.

It is believed that there are very few, if any, Chinese laborers so located that they can not, without inconvenience to themselves, appear before one of these officers, make his application, and furnish the evidence required by the law.

I inclose herewith copies of the statutes, revised regulations, and forms of application and evidence required.

Very respectfully,

J. G. Carlisle,
Secretary.
[Subinclosure.]

Mr. Miller to Mr. Carlisle.

Sir: Referring to the letter of the Chinese minister of the 11th instant, addressed to yon and by yon referred to this office, in which it is stated that complaints have been received from certain portions of this country that inadequate accommodations are being furnished for the registering of Chinese laborers, I beg to say, with reference to the complaints from El Paso and San Antonio, Tex., to the effect that registering officers at those points are refusing to accept Chinese testimony in behalf of applicants, that on the 28th ultimo the attention of Collector Kauffman was called to this matter, and on the 29th he advised this office by telegraph as follows:

“Have wired deputy at El Paso to accept any creditable Chinaman of good character as witness. Applications now at this office show that he has accepted such witnesses heretofore.”

Complaints similar to the above have come from other sections of the country, and in each instance collectors have been instructed to accept creditable Chinamen as witnesses, no discrimination being made on account of the color or nationality of a witness.

Only a simple compliance with the law, which requires a creditable witness, has been exacted.

As to the charge that persons of questionable character are alleged to be acting in collusion with certain registering clerks and demanding a payment of $7 for each certificate, this office has no information to warrant the belief that deputy collectors have had any knowledge of, connived at, or been a party to any such unlawful practices, nor has this office any information that unprincipled men are placing obstacles in the way of registration unless they are paid a fee for procuring the same. It is possible that persons serving as witnesses for applicants have charged a fee for so [Page 166]doing, but if this has been done at all it is a matter entirely between the applicant and the witness, and this office has no information that any of its subordinates have been parties to any such transaction.

The charges recounted in the letter of the minister will be thoroughly investigated, and if it is found that registering officers have been guilty of any wrongdoing in this connection they will be summarily dealt with and promptly dismissed from the service.

As to the complaint that there are about 70,000 Chinese in the State of California, only 24,000 of whom have been registered, and that on account of the limited registration much anxiety is felt, and it is feared that the work can not be completed within the short time remaining for the execution of the law, I beg to state that telegraphic information received from the collectors in California reports that at the close of business on the 6th instant the total number of applications received in the first and fourth collection districts was 43,344, in the district of Oregon, 8,000, and in the district of Montana, 3,000, making an aggregate of 54,344. About 6,000 applications had been received in other districts throughout the country up to the close of business on the 15th ultimo, which makes an aggregate of about 60,000 applications.

Information received very recently from all collectors in whose districts there are any considerable number of Chinamen is to the effect that the work of registration is progressing satisfactorily, and that it would be completed in the time prescribed by the law; that is, all Chinamen entitled to registration will have applied for certificates.

In some of the districts there will be a considerable number of certificates still to be issued after the close of business of the 3d of May, but a sufficient force will be employed in each of the districts where such a condition prevails to issue and furnish the certificates to applicants within a brief time after that date.

In regard to the complaints made from certain points throughout the country that there are no officers present to receive applications for certificates, it is believed that in most of these cases, as at Union City, Tenn., investigation will develop the fact that there are but few Chinamen at these points, possibly not more than one or two. There are many such places where it is entirely impracticable to send a deputy collector to receive applications.

In all such cases it is the privilege of a Chinaman to go before the clerk of a court, a notary public, or a justice of the peace, or any municipal or State officer authorized to administer oaths. (See p. 7, series 7, No. 8, revised.)

This concession was made in the regulations for the purpose of meeting emergencies of this kind, and it would seem but just and reasonable that the applicant should be satisfied with this liberal provision for his accommodation. But, in order to eliminate as far as possible all cause for complaint upon this subject, the collectors of the several districts embracing the points referred to have been advised to extend accommodations to applicants by sending deputies to those points named wherever their means will permit it, and where this can not be done to call the attention of all who complain to the privilege accorded them of registering before the local officers, as above stated.

I am, very respectfully,

J. S. Miller,
Commissioner.