Strong Speeches to the Delegates

San Francisco Call/November 23, 1901

Sentiments Favoring Protection to American Labor Are Wildly Cheered.

The Chinese Exclusion Convention completed its labors yesterday after the adoption of one of the most important as well as vigorous memorials on the Chinese question ever addressed to the President and Congress of the United States. The attitude of the people of California and of the entire Pacific Coast toward the problem of unrestricted immigration of Asiatics to these shores as represented in the convention was distinctly outlined, and its language cannot fail to be understood in the East as being the spontaneous outburst of a united people against the imposition upon them of a grievous wrong.

The delegates gathered in force yesterday morning and listened with enthusiasm to many speakers. Only one theme was discussed, only one idea advanced, namely, unalterable resistance to the project of unrestricted Chinese immigration to America. The danger of a Mongolian invasion in the event of the refusal of Congress to re-enact the exclusion law was pointed out in forceful language by all the speakers. The delegates cheered heartily at every patriotic sentiment voiced by the orators, and particularly when the necessity of protecting American labor against foreign competition was urged. The members of the convention showed by their zeal that they were in accord with the speakers, whose sentiments they cordially indorsed.

The report of the committee on permanent organization was the first matter to engage the attention of the delegates at the morning session. The recommendation that the temporary officers be made permanent was adopted amid cheers. It was expected that the memorial committee would be able to file its report, but the announcement by Chairman Geary that further time was required by the committee resulted in the desired action being taken. There being no definite business before the convention, speechmaking was indulged in. Assistant United States District Attorney Duncan E. McKinlay was introduced by the chair, and that gentleman delivered an able address in which he reviewed the Chinese question from the standpoint of the District Attorney’s office. The legal aspects of the issue were capably presented, the speaker’s remarks at times evoking hearty applause. So favorably did he impress his hearers that at the close of his speech he was honored by a vote of thanks for his brilliant oratorical effort.

The Rev. Dr. William Rader followed with a witty address, in which he reviewed the Chinese question from the standpoint of morality and religion. His allusions to the vices prevailing in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and of their effect upon the whole community, were impressively advanced, and his remark that the proper place in which to Christianize the Chinese was in China and not in this country, evoked cheers. The address was replete with statistical information, and it was listened to with profound interest by all present.

Congressman Woods carried away the banner by a characteristic speech in which he informed the convention “that with its assistance all h—l couldn’t beat the exclusion law.” Woods was in deep earnest, and all his utterances were accompanied by vigorous gestures and a beating of the rostrum with a vigor that threatened to convert it into kindling wood. He assured the convention that the California delegation in Congress would never give up the exclusion fight, and when he sought to close what he termed his “razzle-dazzle” address, the crowd yelled lustily for more. Woods obliged the delegates further, and when he concluded the delegates gave him three hearty cheers.

The closing address of the morning session was by Mayor Snyder of Los Angeles. During the afternoon the representatives of various labor organizations delivered brief addresses. Dr. Williamson, president of the Board of Health, talked of the Chinese curse in San Francisco and frequently evoked applause. Mr. Taylor of the State Grange spoke in behalf of the farmers of California, and in a logical speech showed the evil effects unrestricted immigration of Chinese to California would exert upon rural pursuits in this State.

The main event of the afternoon session was the reading and adoption of the memorial to President Roosevelt and to Congress. Prior to the filing of the report of the committee Supervisor Reed’s motion that a committee by appointed to wait upon Rev. Father Peter C. Yorke with the request that he address the convention was carried, and Reed was detailed for the task. A motion to adjourn just before Rev. Mr. Yorke’s arrival was voted down, and when the clergyman appeared he was warmly greeted. He spoke at some length, and at the conclusion of his speech several motions of more or less importance were made and carried. The convention then adjourned sine die.

(Source: Chronicling America,