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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the second session of the forty-fifth Congress, 1877-'78

Peru,   pp. 433-450 PDF (8.5 MB)

Page 435

                                No. 242.
                         Mr. Gibbs to Mr. Fish.
 No. 107.]                  LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
            Lima, Peru, November 13, 1876. (Received December 14.)
   SIR:          *        *        *         *       *
   Since the receipt of your dispatch I have devoted some attention to
 the status of the Chinese in this country, having previously visited
 some of the large sugar-estates and noticed the manner in which they
 were treated, and also have gathered information from trustworthy per-
 sons who testified to their treatment at various places in the republic.
 I have come to the conclusion that they were treated as slaves were in
 former times in the United States, and as I have seen slaves and Chinese
 used in Cuba during many years of residence there. On some planta-
 tions they received every attention due to their position and wants; on
 others, treatment of the most barbarous kind, worse than brutes.
   I think there has been a great change for the better latterly, as I sel-
 dom now see articles in the papers of their revolting against the over-
 seers of the plantaouns, and believe the slaves are treated better in all
 parts of the country. I account for this in various ways; principally
 policy on the part of their employers, and partly because the Chinese
 who have been here such a length of time have acquired a knowledge
 of their rights and demand them, and sometimes take what they think
 is law in their own hands by murdering the owner or overseer of the
   Here in Lima, at Callao, and other ports on the coast, there are great
 numbers of them who have served the time of contract or have in some
 cases purchased it, and they enjoy all the rights due to any citizen or
 resident of the republic, and, as far as I can see or judge, are happy
 and contented. A great many of them are occupied as house-servants,
 principally as cooks. In all parts of the city are small eating-houses
 or cook-shops kept by Chinese, and they are Well patronized by the poor
 people, where they get more and better food for less money than with
 the natives.
 Streets fronting on the large markets and those leading to them are
 so much filled by Chinese grocers, tailors, shoemakers, bakers, butch.
 ers, and other.tradesmen that, walking around seeing the people, their
 shops and signs, you could easily imagine that you were in a Chinese
 As the Chinaman is laborious and industrious, being satisfied with
 small gains and having no luxurious vices or habits, he sells cheaper
 and gives a better article for less money than shopkeepers of other
 I suppose that these shops, which were originally started with the idea
 of catching the trade of their-fellow countrymen as they came to the
 market, have gradually attracted the natives, who find it totheir benefit
 to supply their wants from the Chinese. I have noticed during the short
 time I have been here, about sixteen months, that their shops are increas-
 ing fast, and also many handsome stores in the principal streets. They
 intermarry with the lower. class of whites, mestizas, and cholas, and by
 these are looked upon as quite a catch, for they make good husbands,
 industrious, domestic, and fond of their children, while the cholo (In-
 dian) husband is lazy, indolent, often a drunkard, and brutal to his
 wife. I often meet children in the streets whose almond-shaped eyes
show their Chinese origin. Great numbers have become converts

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