Mr. Adee to Mr. Conger.

No. 551.]

Sir: Referring to the Department’s No. 541, of the 2d ultimo, in regard to the charges made by Chinese residents of Honolulu against Mr. Yang Wei-pin, the Chinese consul there, I inclose herewith copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury covering a report from the collector of customs at Honolulu, in which the conclusion is reached that the consul abused the privileges of his position and that his exequatur should be withdrawn.

The Chinese minister at Washington has advised the Department of Mr. Yang’s transfer to another post.

I am, etc.,

Alvey A. Adee,
Acting Secretary.

Mr. Shaw to Mr. Hay.

Sir: Referring to your letter of the 12th of April last, with which was inclosed copy of a communication from a number of Chinese residents of Honolulu, requesting the withdrawal by this Government of the exequatur granted to Mr. Yang Wei-pin as Chinese consul at Honolulu, for the reason that he makes use of his official position to smuggle opium into Hawaii, and to the letter addressed to you on the 18th of the same month, wherein you were advised that the collector of customs at Honolulu had been instructed to make an immediate and thorough investigation of the subject, you are informed that on the 13th ultimo Hon. George R. Carter, of Honolulu, was requested to conduct the inquiries and the collector of customs at Honolulu instructed to place in possession of Mr. Carter all the papers in the case and to render any assistance which might be desired.

[Page 250]

I have the honor to transmit herewith for your information copy of a report dated the 15th instant, of Mr. Carter, in which it is stated that there is evidence that the Chinese consul at Honolulu has abused the privileges of his position, and that his exequatur should therefore be withdrawn. Mr. Carter adds that while he should have preferred to make further inquiries on the subject, he deems it advisable to submit the inclosed report, in view of the fact that the Chinese consul was about to leave Honolulu for Washington. If further investigation of the subject is desired, I will, on being so advised, communicate promptly with Mr. Carter.


L. M. Shaw, Secretary.

Mr. Carter to Mr. Shaw.

Dear Sir: Since my note of June 30 I have given the matter mentioned in yours of June 13 considerable attention, and as I understand the Chinese consul leaves to-day for Washington, I conclude you will desire my report at this time, although I should have preferred to make still further inquiries.

In my investigation I took the opportunity to interview first those who are supposed to be friends of the consul, then examined the evidence gathered by Mr. Stackable, the collector of customs. District Attorney Breckons very kindly consented to go over this evidence, which is voluminous, and has prepared a synopsis, after receiving which I investigated the standing and reputation of certain witnesses in order to ascertain the value of their evidence. My conclusion is that opium has been imported by the Chinese consul and that he has abused his privileges as a representative of a foreign power.

The appointment of Mr. Yang Wei-pin has been unfortunate from the start, and he evidently considers the Chinese of this community on a par with those of his own country or even of San Francisco. His father is stated to have paid a large sum in order to secure his appointment; but Hawaii has long been the outpost of occidental civilization, and during the last twenty-five years many of the Chinese residents have risen to positions of wealth and importance. Their sons have been educated here, in America, and in England, so that we have an intelligent, well-educated Chinese community, who refuse to be browbeaten or squeezed. They consider that public offices should not be farmed out or given to the highest bidder, and that public positions are a public trust.

Mr. Yang Wei-pin began his career by exorbitant charges for his official acts. Although claiming to be rich, he maintained that the merchants of the community should contribute to the expenses of the consul. Failing in both of these attempts to secure money, he endeavored to get possession of a large fund contributed by the white merchants during the cholera for the benefit of the Chinese. He further antagonized the community by sending in the names of those who had contributed to a fund raised for a reform movement in China. He has had the relatives living in China of those who opposed him here persecuted.

In regard to the claims of the Chinese subjects for losses during the great fire at the time of the plague, he has assisted officially in presenting the claims and, it is stated now, demands a percentage as his compensation.

For a time during the war in China he issued a certificate, for $5, certifying that the bearer was a supporter of the Empress, and it is said large numbers of the Chinese fearing trouble paid him this fee and secured this certificate which, of course, was only a means of raising revenue.

The evidence of his importing opium is so complete and from so many sources, with so many instances to corroborate the witnesses’ statements, that it certainly could not be manufactured by his opponents. I thereforere commend the withdrawal of his exequatur.

It would be a good plan, if possible, to have a consul selected from among the educated residents of Honolulu who understand the temper and intelligence of the Chinese here and who will serve for the honor rather than the emoluments of the position.

Very sincerely, yours,

G. R. Carter.