Saturday, December 03, 1853
What Is To Be Done With The Chinamen?
Three years ago it was a matter of no little curiosity to the American miner, to see a real live representative of the Celestial Empire, with his wooden shoes, his prodigious hat of fantastical proportions, his shaven head, his long black cue dangling at his feet, his light springy pole poised upon his shoulder, and freighted with provisions and mining tools, as he wended his way, half walking, half pacing, on his road to the mines. But the time has now arrived when the Chinaman begins to be regarded with other feelings than those of mere idle curiosity. Stimulated by the brilliant reports carried back to China by these first adventurers, and allured by the vast fields of wealth that seemed to open before them, as well as encouraged by the invitation of many of our own people, thousands and tens of thousands of theses able sons of Asia have crossed the Pacific - poured into our towns, and are now swarming in quest of gold through every part of the mines. It is a notable fact that already, in many of the mining districts in this vicinity, the number of Chinamen is more than double that of all the other miners put together. And yet this stream of trans-Pacific immigration still continues to pour in upon us. Its tide is daily swollen by a perpetual influx from all the dark and dingy tribes of the Chinese Empire - a country which boasts a population nearly equal to that of all the world besides. A very necessary and natural result of this rapid accumulation of Chinese in our midst, is a clashing of interests, and consequent bickering and difficulties between them and our own citizens.
After the American miner with that spirit of courageous enterprise so peculiarly his own, at the cost of the thousands of dollars, has explored wild mountainous and savage regions where a Chinaman dare not set his foot - after he has toiled, prospected and found gold - after he has encountered and overcome numberless difficulties and dangers, in the shape of Indian pillage and Indian barbarity - after his stock has been stolen, his camp robbed, and his life periled a thousand times - and finally, after he has settled down to work with a partial feeling of security, in the hope of realizing at least some reward for years of suffering and privation - what must be his feelings to find himself suddenly surrounded and hemmed in on every side, by a motley swarm of semi-barbarians, eagers to grasp the spoils, though they dare not share the fight? In view of all these facts, is it any wonder that we occasionally hear the deep toned murmuring of discontent, and even threats of violence on the part of our own citizens, towards a race of foreigners who, having no feelings or sympathies in common with us, are rapidly overrunning our country, and appropriating to themselves these golden fields and fertile vallies which have been bought with American blood, and rendered productive for all our surplus population of Asia, it is high time for us to enquire what position our Celestial bretherine are destined to hold in our body politic.
Is our golden State to be peopled, through all future time, by two separate and distinct races, having no more affinity for each other than oil and water, and occupying the relative position of master and servant? Or like two fountains from different sources, and converging in their onward course finally commingle their waters in one common stream, are the American and Chinese races destined ultimately to unite, forming one people, retaining all the leading original features of both? If the Chinese are to live amongst us as our equals, exercising the same political rights as American citizens, it may be well for us to pause and consider whether we are willing that they should enact our laws, fill our judicial tribunals, set upon our fortunes, and our liberties. And finally, are we willing that they should marry with our sons and daughters, and people our country with a motley race of half breeds, resembling more the native Digger than the Anglo American?