The Chinese in California


Louisville Daily Courier/June 12, 1852


One of the principal topics of public discussion throughout our State, and perhaps the only one of importance which is widely agitated at the present time, is the question of permitting Chinese labor in the mines. Since the departure of the last semi-monthly mail steamer the increase of the foreign immigration to our shores has been very great, and the class which has far outnumbered all others has been the Chinese. These people, although peaceable and honest, and in their mining operations less obtrusive than any other distinct portion of the mining community, are believed to be less advantageous to the State as citizens than any other class of laborers, on account of their parsimonious habits of life and their temporary intentions among us. Against these people in particular, is the growing dislike of our miners directed, and it is the rapidly swelling tide of emigration of their countrymen that has disturbed the minds of our citizens, and created doubt, apprehension, and dislike in all parts of the State.

The subject of the Chinese immigration has been transmitted to the State legislature, in an executive document, and has been discussed with some spirit, and occupied no small share of the public debate. The miners, in some sections of the gold districts, have carried the matter still further, and quite summarily and informally expelled from the diggings parties of Chinese who had established near them. Meetings have been held in divers places in the Northern and Southern mines, at which it has been agreed to prevent the labor of Chinese in the neighborhood represented at the meetings. No violence has yet been attempted, or is contemplated, but the diggers in some of the districts proclaim an unalterable intention not to permit Chinese labor near them.

Gov. Bigler, in his message, recommends that measures be taken by the State legislature to check this Asiatic immigration, and that aid from Congress be also invoked. He proposes for the State such an exercise of the system of taxation as shall prevent the Chinese from realizing the gains which they have hitherto enjoyed.

Here the matter rests at present. The apprehensions entertained on this subject have been exaggerated and distorted and it is, therefore, not unlikely that they will pass away as suddenly as they were created. We do not anticipate difficulty from this state of things.—Alta Californian.

(Source: Library of Congress, Chronicling America)