Canada - The Hindu
( Originally Published 1915 )
Is It, then, that Canada fears the growth of Japan as a great world power? No, the thing is deeper than that. We have come to the place where we must go deeper than surface signs and use neither rose water nor kid gloves. The question of the Chinese and the Japanese is entirely distinct from the Hindu.
If you think that shutting your eyes to what you don't want to know and stopping your nostrils to the stench and gathering your garments up and passing by on the other side ever settled a difficult question, then the Pacific Coast wishes you joy to your system of moral sanitation ; but don't offer the people of the Pacific Coast any platitudinous advice about admitting Asiatics. They know what they are doing. You don't! Theoretically the Asiatic should have the same liberty to come and go with Canada as Canadians have to come and go with the Orient. Theoretically, also, the colored man should be as clean and upright and free-and-equal and dependable as the white man; but practically in an anguish that has cost the South blood and tears—practically he isn't. The theory does not work out. Neither does it with the Asiatic. That is, it does not work out at close range on the spot, instead of the width of half a continent away.
Canada is being asked to decide and legislate on one of the most vital race problems that ever confronted a nation. She is also being asked to be very lily-handed and ladylike and dainty about it all. You must not explore facts that are not—"nice." You must not ask what the Westerner means when he says that "the Asiatic will not affiliate with our civilization." Is it more than white teeth and pigments of the skin? Is it more than skin deep? Had the Old Book some deep economic reason when it warned the children of Israel against mixing their blood with aliens? Has it all anything to do with the centuries' cesspools of unbridled vice? Is that the reason that women's clubs—knowing less of such things—rather than men's clubs—are begged to pass fool resolutions about admitting races of whose living practices they know absolutely nothing?
If it isn't the labor unions and it isn't the fear of new national power that prejudice against the Oriental—what is it? Why has almost every woman's club on the Pacific passed resolutions against the ad-mission of the Oriental, and almost every woman's club in the East passed resolutions for the admission? Why did the former Minister of Labor in Canada say that "a minimum of publicity is desired upon this subject"? What did he mean when he declared "that the native of India is not a person suited to this country"? If the native Hindu is "not a person suited to Canada"--climate, soil, moisture, what not?—why isn't that fact sufficient to exclude the Oriental with-out any legislation? Italians never go to live at the North Pole. Nor do Eskimos come to live in the tropics.
You may ask questions about Hindu immigration till you are black in the face. Unless you go out on the spot to the Pacific Coast, the most you will get for an answer is a "hush." And it would not be such an impossible situation if the other side were also going around with a finger to the lip and a "hush" ; but the Oriental isn't. The Hindu and his advocates go from one end of Canada to the other clamoring at the tops of their voices, not for the privilege, but for the right, of admission to Canada, the right to vote, the right to colonize. At the time the first five or six thousand were dumped on the Pacific Coast, twenty thousand more were waiting to take passage ; and one hundred thousand more were waiting to take passage after them, clamoring for the right of admission, the tight to vote, the right to colonize. Canada welcomes all other colonists. Why not these? The minute you ask, you are told to "hush."
South Africa and Australia "hushed" so very hard and were so very careful that after a very extensive experienee 150,000 Hindus settled in one colony both colonies legislated to shut them out altogether. At least South Africa's educational test amounted to that, and South Africa and Australia are quite as imperial as Canada. Why did they do it? The labor unions were no more behind the exclusion in those countries than in British Columbia. The labor unions chuckled with glee over the embarrassment of the whole question.
Each side of the question must be stated plainly, not as my personal opinions or the opinions of any one, but as the arguments of those advocating the free admission of the Hindu, and of those furiously opposing the free admission.
A few years ago British Columbia was at her wit's ends for laborers—men for the mills, the mines, the railroads. India was at her wit's ends because of surplus of labor—labor for which her people were glad to receive three, ten, twenty cents a day. Her people were literally starving for the right to live. It does not matter much who acted as the connecting Iink the sawmill owners, the canneries, the railroads, or the steamships. The steamship lines and the saw mill men seem to have been the combined sinners. The mills wanted labor. The steamship lines saw a chance to transport laborers at the rate of twenty thousand a year to and from India. The Hindus came tumbling in at the rate of six thousand in a single year, when, suddenly, British Columbia, inert at first, awakened and threatened to secede or throw the newcomers into the sea. By intervention of the Imperial govern-ment and the authorities of India a sort of subterfuge was rigged up in the immigration laws. The Hindus had been booked to British Columbia via Hong Kong and Hawaii. The most of the Japs had come by way of Hawaii. To kill two birds with one stone, by order-in-council in Ottawa, the regulation was en-acted forbidding the admission of immigrants except on continuous passage from the land of birth. Canada's immigration law also permits great latitude in interpretation as to the amount of money that must be possessed by the incoming settlers. Ordinarily it is fifty dollars for winter, twenty five dollars for summer, with a five hundred dollar poll tax against the Chinaman. The Hindus were required to have two hundred and fifty dollars on their person.
One wonders at the simplicity of a nation that hopes to fence itself in safety behind laws that are pure subterfuge. The subterfuge has but added irritation to friction. What was to hinder a direct line of steam ships going into operation any day? As a matter of fact, to force the issue, to force the Dominion to declare the status of the Oriental, a Japanese ship early in 1914 did come direct from India with a cargo of angry armed Hindus demanding entrance. Canada refused to relent. The ship lay in harbor for months unable to land its colonists, and a Dominion cruiser patrolled Vancouver water to prevent actual armed conflict. When the final decision ordered the colonists on board deported, knives and rifles were brandished; and Hopkinson, the secret service man employed by British authorities, was openly shot to death a few weeks later in a Vancouver court room by a band of Hindu assassins. "We are glad we did it," declared the murderers when arrested. Hopkinson himself had come from India and was hated and feared owing to his secret knowledge of revolutionary propaganda among the Vancouver Hindus, who were posing as patriots and British subjects. The fact that many thousands of Sikhs and Hindus had just been hurried across Canada in trains with blinds down to fight for the empire in Europe added tragic complexity to an already impossible situation.
The leaders of the Hindu party in Canada had already realized that more immigration was not advisable till they had stronger backing of public opinion in Canada, and a campaign of publicity was begun from Nova Scotia to the Pacific (Nast. Churches, women's missionary societies, women's clubs, men's clubs were addressed by Hindu leaders from one end of Canada to the other. It did not improve the temper of some of these leaders posing in flowing garments of white as mystic saints before audiences of women to know that Hopkinson, the secret agent, was on their trail in the shadow with proofs of criminal records on the part of these same leaders. These criminal records Hopkinson would willingly have exposed had the Imperial government not held his hand. When I was in Vancouver he called to see me and promised me a full exposure of the facts, but before speaking cabled for permission to speak. Permission was flatly refused, and I was told that I was investigating things altogether too deeply. I can see the secret agent's face yet as he sat bursting with facts repressed by Imperial order a solemn, strong, relentless man, sad and savage with the knowledge he could not use. Without Hopkinson's aid, it was not difficult to get the facts. Canada is a country of party government. One party had just been ousted from power, and another party had just° come in. While I was waiting for permission from Ottawa to obtain facts in the open, information came to me voluntarily with proofs through the wife of a former secret agent.
It did not make things easier for Hopkinson that the whole dispute as to Hindu immigration was relegated into that doubtful resort of all ambiguous politics "the twilight zone" or the doubtful borderland where provincial powers end and federal powers begin and Imperial powers intervene. England was shoving the burden of decision on the Dominion, and the Do-minion was shoving the burden on the Province of British Columbia, and to evade responsibility each government was shuttling the thing back and for-ward, weaving a tangle of hate and misunderstanding which culminated in Hopkinson's assassination in 1914.
As "the twilight zone" between provincial and federal rights comes up here, it should be considered and emphasized ; for it is the one great weakness of every federation. Who is to do what—when neither government wants to assume responsibility? Who is to enforce Iaws, when neither government wants to father them? It was this gave such passion to Vancouver's resentment in Hindu immigration. Indeed this very question of "a twilight zone" gives pause to many an Imperial Federationist. In a dispute of this sort, in, volving the parts of the empire, could England give force to an exclusion act without losing the allegiance to her British Empire?
Every conceivable argument has been used in this Hindu dispute. I want to emphasize they are arguments, used for argument's sake—not reasons. The plain brutal bald reasons on each side of the dispute are British Columbia does not want the Hindus. The Hindus want British Columbia. Simultaneously with the campaign for publicity action was taken : (1) to force the resident Hindu on the voters' list; (2) to break down the immigration laws by demanding the entrance of wives and families; (3) to force recognition of the status of the Oriental by bringing them in the ships of Japan—England's ally.
If the resident Hindu had a vote and as a British subject, why not ? and if he could break down the immigration exclusion act, he could out-vote the native-born Canadian in ten years. In Canada are five and one-half million native born, two million aliens. In India are hundreds of millions breaking the dykes of their own national barriers and ready to flood any open land. Take down the barriers on the Pacific Coast, and there would be ten million Hindus in Canada in ten years. The drawing of Japan into the quarrel by chartering a Japanese ship was a crafty move. Japan is the empire's ally. Offense to Japan means war.
The arguments from both sides I set down in utter disinterest personally. Here they are: We need room for colonization—says the Hindu.
Let England lose India, and she loses five sixths of the British Empire. By refusing admission to the Hindu, Canada is endangering British dominion in India. Moral conditions there are appalling, of course ; but say the missionaries—give these people a chance, and they will become as good as any of us. Are we not sprung from the same Aryan stock?
British Columbia has immense tracts of arable land. Why not give India's millions a chance on it as colonizers?
There is not so much sedition among the Hindus of British Columbia as among Canadian-born Socialists, who rant of the flag as "the bloody rag."
The vices of the Hindu are no worse than the vices of the low whites.
They are British subjects and have a right to admission. Admission is not a privilege but a right.
How can we expect good morals among three to five thousand men who are forcibly separated from wives and children? Admit their wives to prevent deterioration. This argument was used by a Hindu addressing audiences in Toronto.
What right have Canadians to point the finger of scorn at the reproach of the child wife when the age of marriage in one province is twelve years?
In the days of the mutiny the Sikh proved his loyalty. Today the Indian troops are proving their loyalty by fighting for the empire in Europe.
Many of the Canadians now denouncing the Hindu made money selling them real estate in Vancouver, and expropriation is behind the idea of exclusion.
The admission of the Hindu would relieve British Columbia's great need for manual laborers.
Canadian missionaries to India are received as friends. Why are the Hindus not received as friends in Canada?
Why should a Sikh not marry a white woman as one did in Vancouver? This question was asked by the official publication of the Sikhs in Vancouver.
If Canada shuts her doors to the Hindus, let the Hindus shut doors to Canadians.
These are not my arguments. They are the arguments of the people advocating the free admission of people from India to Canada.
To these arguments the Pacific Coast makes answer. Likewise, the answer is not mine :
We know that you as a people need room for colonization ; but if we admit you as colonists, will your presence drive out other colonists, as it has done in Australia and South Africa ; as the presence of colored people prevents the coming of other colonists to the southern states? If we have to decide between having you and excluding Canadians, or excluding you and having Canadians, we can not afford to hesitate in our decision. We must keep our own land for our own people.
Australia and South Africa have excluded the Hindu South Africa's educational test amounts to that—and that has not imperiled British dominion in India. Why should it in Canada? The very fact there are millions ready to come is what alarms us. Morals are low—you acknowledge—and your people would be better if they had a chance; but would the chance not cost us too dearly, as the improvement of the blacks has cost the South in crime and contaminated blood? We are sorry for you, just as we are sorry for any plague-stricken region ; but we do not welcome you among us because of that pity.
There may not be so much sedition among the Hindus of British Columbia as among Canadian-born Socialists, who rant of the flag as "a bloody rag" ; but our Socialistic seditionists have never yet been accused of collecting two million dollars to send home to India to buy rifles for the revolution. Canadian Socialists have never yet collected one dime to buy rifles. These are not my accusations. They are accusations that have been in the very air of Vancouver and San Francisco. If they are true, they ought to be proved true. If they are untrue, they ought to be proved untrue; but in view of the shoutings over patriotism and of Hopkinson's assassination, they come with a rude jar to claims grounded on loyalty. Could Hindus who landed in British Columbia destitute a few years ago possibly have that amount of money among them? At last census they had property in Vancouver alone to the amount of six million dollars, held collectively for the whole community.
Their vices may be no worse than the vices of the low whites, but if immigration officials find that whites low or high have vices, those whites are excluded, be they English, Irish, Scotch, or Greek.
The Hindus are British subjects, but Canada does not admit British subjects unless she wants them—unless they can give a clean bill of health and morals.
Canada does not regard admission as a right to any race, European, Asian, African. She considers her citizenship a privilege and reserves to herself the right to extend or not to extend that privilege to whom she will.
That separation from families will excuse base and lewd morals is a view that Canada will never admit. Her sons go forth unaccompanied by wives or sisters to lumber camps and mines and pioneer shacks, and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred come back clean as they went forth, and manlier. That women should be victims on an altar of lust is an argument that may appeal to the Asiatic—the sentiment all draped in wisteria and lilies, of course ; but it isn't an argument that will prove anything in Canada but the advocate's unfitness for citizenship.
What reason have Canadians to point the finger of reproach at the institution of the child wife, when the age of marriage in one province is low as twelve? And that brings up the whole question of the child wife. Because one province has the marriage age criminally low does not prove that that province approves of marriages at twelve. In the whole history of that province marriages at that age have been as rare as the pastime of skinning a man alive, and that province has no specific law against skinning a man alive. It has no such law because that type of crime is un-known. But can it be said that the institution of child marriage is an unknown or even a rare crime in India? The Hindu wives for whom loud outcry is being made are little girls barely eight years of age, whom before marriage the husbands have never seen, men of thirty-five and forty and forty-eight. Does Canada desire the system of the child wife embodied in her national life? Suppose one hundred thousand Hindu colonists came to the vacant arable lands of British Columbia. As the inalienable right of a British subject, the colonist must be allowed to bring in his wife. What if she is a child to whom he was married in her infancy? The colonist being a British subject is to be given a vote. How would Canada abolish the child wife system if Hindu votes outnumbered Canadian votes? Forget all about the rifle fund—the discovery of which was paid for in Hopkinson's life ! Forget all about labor and mill owner and color of pigments ! You know now why the Oriental question is more than skin deep. Go a little deeper in this child wife thing! Don't balk at the horror of it ! The Pacific Coast wants you to know a few medical facts. Hundreds of thousands of children in India, age from nine to twelve, are wives actually living with husbands ; and the husbands are in many cases from thirty to eighty years of age. Anglo-Saxons regard these unions as criminal. One-third of all children born of mothers under sixteen years of age die in infancy because of the tortures to the mother's body, compared to which the tortures of the Inquisition were merciful. Does Canada want that system embodied in her national life? Under Canadian law such crimes are treated to thirty-nine lashes : under American law to Judge Lynch. Twenty-five per cent. of the women of India die prematurely because of the crimes perpetrated through child marriage. Twenty-five per cent. become invalids from the same cause. Nine million girl wives in India are under fifteen years of age; two million are under eleven.
I asked a British Columbia sawmill owner why the Hindu could not speed up with a Pole or Swede.
"No stamina," he answered. "Too many generations of vice! Too many generations of birth from immature mothers ; no dower of strength from birth."
The advocates of Hindu colonization in Canada glibly advise "prohibiting child wives." To bar out child wives sounds easy. How are you to know they are child wives and not daughters ? If one thing more than another has been established in Vancouver about Hindus, not excepting the leaders, it is that you can not believe a Hindu under oath. Also British law does not allow you to bar out a subject's wife unless she be diseased or vicious. If you let down the bar to any section of the Hindu, teeming millions will come—with a demand to vote.
That Canada's continuous passage law is immoral and intolerable no one denies. It is a subterfuge and a joke. The day the Japanese steamship tested the law by bringing passengers direct from land of birth the law fell down and Canada had to face squarely, the question of exclusion. As the world knows, the shipload of human cargo after lying for months in Vancouver Harbor was sent back, and Hindu leaders proved their claims of a right to citizenship by assassinating Hopkinson.
To the claim that the Sikhs are loyal, Canada answers—"for their own sake." If British protection were withdrawn from India to-morrow, a thousand petty chiefs would fly at one another's throats. The idea that expropriation is behind exclusion could be entertained only by an Oriental mind. Expropriation is possible under Canadian law only for treason. Imperial unity is no more threatened in Canada by exclusion than it was threatened in South Africa and Australia. The Hindus are adapted to the cultivation of the soil, but if they come in millions, will any white race it down beside them? Why does immigration persistently refuse to go to the southern states? Because of a black shadow over the land, Does Canada want such a shadow?
The missionary argument can hardly be taken seriously. Missionaries do not go to India to colonize, They do not introduce white vices. They go at Canada's expense to give free medical and social service to India.
"Why should a Sikh not marry a white woman?" There, again, you are up against a side of the subject that is neither violet water nor pink tea ; but it is a vital side of the subject. For the same reason that the South objects to and passes laws against mixed unions of the races. These laws are not the registration of prejudice. They are the registration of terrible lessons in experience. It is not a matter of opinion. It is a matter of fact. What is feared is not the marriage of a Sikh who is refined to a white woman who knows what she is doing. What is feared is the effect of that union on the lewd Hindu; the effect on the safety of the uncultured white woman and white girl. Any one on the Coast who has lived next to Asiatics, any one in India or the Philippines knows what this means in terms of hideous terrible fact that can not be set down here. Vancouver knows. "I'll see," said an officer in the Philippines of his native valet, "that the—dog turns up missing;" and every than present knew why ; and when the officer set out on an unnamed expedition with his valet, the valet did "turn up missing." There are vices for which a white than kills. "Have not the English carried vices to India?" a Hindu protagonist asked me. Yes, answered British Columbia, but we do not purpose poisoning the new young life of Canada to compensate the vices of English soldiers who have gone to pieces morally in India.
As to shutting Canadians out of India, Canada would accept that challenge gladly. When Canadians carry vices to India—says Canada—shut them out.
These are the reasons given for the Pacifie Coast's aversion to the Hindu, and even with the arguments stated explicitly, there is a great deal untold and untellable.
For instance, some of the leaders talking loudest in Eastern Canada in the name of the Sikh are not Sikhs at all, and one at least has a criminal record in San Francisco.
For instance again, when the coronation festivities were on in England, there was a very peculiar guard kept round the Hindu quarters. It would be well for some of the eastern women's clubs to inquire why that was; also why the fact was hushed up that two white women of bad character were carried out of that compound dead.
Said a mill owner, one who employs many Hindus, "If the East could understand how some of these penniless leaders grow rich, they would realize that the Hindu has our employment sharks beaten to a frazzle. I take in a new man from one of these leaders. The leader gets two dollars or five dollars for finding this fellow a job. I have barely got the man broken in when the leader yanks him off to another job and sends me a new man, getting, of course, the employment agent fee for both changes."
"But why not let them come out here and work and go back?" asks the East.
Because that is just what the Hindu will not do. When he comes, he fights for the franchise to stay. That is the real meaning behind the fight over cases now in the courts.
"They are curious fellows, poor beggars," said a police court official to me. "They have no more conception of what truth means than a dog stealing a bone. We had a Hindu come in here as complainant against another man, with his back hacked to beef steak. We had very nearly sent the defendant up for a long term in the 'pen,' when we got wind that these two fellows had been bitter enemies—old spites—and that there was something queer about the complainant's shanty. We sent out to examine. The fellow had stuck bits of glass all over the inside of his shack walls and then cut his own back to pay an old grudge against the other man. Another fellow rushed in here gesticulating complaint, who was literally soaked in blood. We had had our experience and so sending for an interpreter, we soused this fellow into a bath-tub. Every dab came off and there was not a scratch under."
"You say the Hindu is the negro problem multiplied by ten, plus craft," said a life long resident of India to me. "That is hardly correct. The Hindu is different from the negro. He is intellectual and spiritual as well as crafty and sensuous. You will never have trouble with the Hindu, if you keep him in his place."
"But do you think a democratic country can what you call keep a race in its place'? The very genius of our democracy is that we want each individual to come up out of his place to a higher place."
"Then you will learn a hard lesson here in Canada." What kind of a lesson? Again, let us take facts, not opinions!
A clergyman's wife in Vancouver, full of missionary zeal for India, thought it her duty to accord the Hindu exactly the same treatment as to an American or English immigrant. She took a man as general house servant and treated him with the same genial courtesy she had treated all other help in her home. You know what is coming don't you? The man mistook it for evil or else failed to subdue the crimes of the centuries in his own blood. Had he not come from a land where a woman more or less did not mat, ter, and hundreds of thousands of little girls are yearly sacrificed on the altars of Moloch? I need not give details. As a matter of fact, there are none. Asiatic ideas about women collided violently with facts which any Canadian takes for granted and does not talk about ! No Anglo-Saxon (thank God) is too ladylike not to have a bit of the warrior woman left in her blood. The Hindu was thrown out of that house, Then the woman reasoned with the blind persistence peculiar to any conscientious good woman, who always puts theory in place of fact! There are blackguards in every race. There are scoundrels among Englishmen in India. Why should she allow one criminal among the Hindus to prejudice her against this whole people? And she at once took another Hindu man servant in the house. This time she kept him in the kitchen and garden. Within a month the same thing happened with a little daughter. This Hindu also went out on his head. No more were employed in that house. That woman's husband was one the Pacific Coast clergymen who passed the resolution "that the Hindus would not affiliate with our Cana- dian civilization."
Personally I think that resolution would have been a great deal more enlightening to the average Easterner if the ministerial association had plainly called a spade a spade.
With the Chinaman conditions are different. In the first place, since China obtained freedom from the old cast iron dynasty, Chinamen have not wanted to colonize in Canada. The leaders of the young China party laid their plots and published their liberty journals from presses in the basement of Vancouver and Victoria shops, but having gained their liberty, they went back to China. The Chinaman does not want to colonize. He does not want a vote. He wants only to earn his money on the Pacific Coast and hoard it and go home to China with it. The fact that he does not want to remain in the country but comes only to work and go back has always been used as an argument against him. Neither does he consider himself your equal, Nor does he want to marry your daughter, nor have you consider him a prince of the royal blood in disguise—a pose in which the little 'lap is as great an adept as the English cockney who drops enough "h's" to build a monument, all the while he is telling you of his royal blue blood If you mistake the Chinaman fora prince in disguise, the results will be just what they were with a poor girl in New York four or five years ago. The results will be just what they always are when you mistake a mongrel for a thoroughbred.
All the same, dismiss the idea from your mind that labor is behind the opposition to Chinese immigration ! A few years ago, when Oriental labor came tumbling into British Columbia at the rate of twelve thousand in a single year—when the Chinese alone had come to number fifteen or sixteen thousand—labor was alarmed; but a twofold change has taken place since that time. First, labor has found that it can better control the Chinaman by letting him enter Canada, than by keeping him in China and letting the product of cheap labor come in. Second, the Chinaman has demonstrated his solidarity as a unit in the labor war. If he comes, he will not foregather with capital. That is certain ! He will affiliate with the unions for higher wages.
"If the Chinaman comes in here lowering the price of goods and the price of labor," said the agitator a few years ago, "we'll put a poll tax of five hundred dollars on and make him pay for his profit." The poll tax was put on every Chinaman coming into Canada, but do you think John Chinaman pays it? It is a way that unjust laws have of coming back in a boomerang. The Chinaman doesn't pay it! Mr. Canadian House holder paid it; for no sooner was the poll tax imposed than up went wages for household servant and laundryman and gardener, from ten to fifteen dollars a month to forty and forty-five and fifty dollars a month. The Italian boss system came in vogue, when the rich Chinaman who paid the entrance tax for his "slaves" farmed out the labor at a profit to himself. The system was really one of indentured slavery till the immigration authorities went after it. Then Chinese benevolent associations were formed. Up went wages automatically. The cook would no longer do the work of the gardener. When the boy you hired at twenty-five dollars had learned his job, he suddenly disappeared one morning. His substitute explains he has had to go away ; "he is sick ;" any excuse ; with delightful lapses of English when you ask questions. You find out that your John has taken a job at forty dollars a month, and you are breaking in a new green hand for the Chinese benevolent association to send up to a higher job. If you kick against the trick, you may kick ! There are more jobs than men. That's the way you pay the five hundred dollars poll tax ; comical, isn't it; or it would be comical if the average white householder did not find it five hundred dollars more than the average income can spare? So the labor leaders chuckle at this subterfuge, as they chuckle at the "continuous" passage law.
For a time the indentured slavery system worked al-most criminally ; for if the newcomer, ignorant of the law and the language, got wise to the fact that his boss was doing what was illegal under Canadian and attempted to jump his serfdom, he was liable—as one of them expressed it "to be found missing." It would be reported that he had suicidal. Among people who did not speak English, naturally, no details would be given. It seems almost unbelievable that in a country wrestling with the whole Asiatic problem the fact has to be set down that the government has no in terpreter among the Chinese who is not a Chinaman, no interpreter among the Japanese who is not a trap. As it chances, the government happens to have two reliable foreigners as interpreters; but they are foreigners.
Said Doctor Munro, one of the medical staff of the Immigration Department : "Even in complicated international negotiations,where each country is jockeying to protect its rights, Canada has to depend on representatives of China or Japan to translate state documents, and transmit state messages. Here we are on the verge of great commercial intercourse with two of the richest countries in Asia, countries that are just awakening from the century's sleep, countries that will need our flour and our wheat and our lumber and our machinery ; and we literally have not a diplomatic body in Canada to speak either Chinese or Japanese. I'll tell you what a lot of us would like to see done—what the southern states are doing with the Latin Spanish of South America have a staff of translators for our chambers of commerce and boards of trade, or price files and lists of markets, etc, How could this be brought about? Let Japan and China send yearly, say twenty students to study international law and English with us. Let us send to China and Japan yearly twenty of our postgraduate students to be trained up into a diplomatic body for our various boards of trade, to forward international trade and help the two countries to understand each other.
"When trouble arose over Oriental immigration a few years ago," continued Doctor Munro, "I can tell You that it was a serious matter that we had to have the translating of our state documents done at that time by representatives of the very nations we were contesting."
Unless I am misinformed, one of the men who did the translating at that time is one of the Orientals who has since "suicided," and the reason for that suicide you might as well try to fathom as to follow the windings of a ferret in the dark. Certain royal clans of Japan will suicide on order from their government for the good of their country.
"The trouble with these foolish raids on Chinatown for gambling," said an educated Chinaman in Van-couver to me, "is that the city police have no secret service among the Chinese, and they never raid the sorts that need most to be cleaned out. They raid some little joint where the Chinese boys are playing fan-tan for ten cents, when they do not raid up-town gambling hells where white men play for hundreds of dollars. If the police employed Chinese secret service, they could clean out every vice resort in a week. Except in the segregated district, which is white, there would not be any vice. They need Chinese police or men who speak Chinese, and there would be no Chinese vice left in this town."
To go back to the matter of the poll tax and the system of indentured slavery, the bosses mapped out every part of the city and province in wage areas. Here, no wages under twenty-five dollars, to which green hands were sent; here, a better quarter, no wages under forty dollars; and so on up as high as sixty dollars for mill work and camp cooking. About this time riots turned the searchlight on all matters Oriental ; and the boss system merged in straight industrial unionism. You still go to a boss to get your gangs of workmen; but the boss is secretary of a benevolent association; and if he takes any higher toll than an employment agent's commission, the immigration department has never been able to detect it. "I have no hesitation in saying," declared an immigration official, "that for four years there has not been a case of boss slavery that could be proved in the courts. There has not been a case that could be proved in the courts of women and children being brought in for evil purposes. Only merchants' wives, students, and that class can come in. The other day an old fellow tried to bring a young woman in. We suspected he had left an old wife in China; but we could not prove it; so we charged him five hundred dollars for the entrance of this one and had them married on the spot. Whenever there is the slightest doubt about their being married, we take no chances, charge them five hundred dollars and have the knot tied right here and now. Then the man has to treat the woman as a wife and support her; or she can sue him; and we can punish and deport him. There is no more of little girls being brought in to be sold for slavery and worse."
All the same, some evils of the boss system still exist. The boss system taught the Chinaman organization, and today, even with higher wages, your forty-five dollars a month cook will do no gardening. You ask him why. "They will cut my throat," he tells you ; and if he goes out to mow the lawn, he is soon surrounded by fellow countrymen who hoot and jeer him.
"Would they cut his throat ?" I asked a Chinaman. "No; but maybe, the benevolent association or his tong fine him."
So you see why labor no longer fears the Chinaman and welcomes him to industrial unionism, a revolution in the attitude of labor which has taken place in the last year. Make a note of these facts;
The poll tax has trebled expenses for the house holder.
The poll tax has created industrial unionism among the Chinese.
The pall tax has not kept the Chinaman out.
How about the Chinese vices? Are they a stench to Heaven as the Hindu's? I an testify that they certainly are not open, and they certainly are not aggressive, and they certainly do not claim vice as a right ; for I went through Vancouver's Chinatown with only a Chinaman as an escort (not through "under-ground dens," as one paper reported it) after ten at night ; and the vices that I saw were innocent, mild, pallid, compared to the white-man vices of Little Italy, New York, or Upper Broadway. We must have visited in all a dozen gambling joints, two or three midnight restaurants, half a dozen opium places and two theaters ; and the only thing that could be remotely constructed into disrespect was the amazement on one drunken white face on the street that a white woman could be going through Chinatown with a Chinaman. Instead of playing for ten and one hundred dollars, as white men and women gamble up town, the Chinese boys were huddling intently over dice boxes, or playing fan-tan with fevered zeal for ten cents. Instead of drinking absinthe, one or two sat smoking heavily, with the abstracted stare of the opium victim. In the midnight restaurants some drunken sailors sat tipsily eating chop suey. Goldsmiths were plying their fine craftsmanship. Presses were turning out dailies with the news of the Chinese revolution. Grocery stores, theaters, markets, all were open; for Chinatown never sleeps.