Mr. Adee to Mr.
Department of State,
Washington, August 8,
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position and that his exequatur should be withdrawn.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,
Mr. Shaw to Mr.
Treasury Department, Washington, July 30,
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.
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therefore be withdrawn.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.
Mr. Carter to
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
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
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
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
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
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,