Page image

CHINESE IMMIGRATION COMMITTEE.

17

H.—No. 5,

peaceable and well-behaved. As regards gambling, Ido not think there is any danger of Europeans being led astray by the Chinese; in fact, I doubt if there is more gambling among the Chinese than among other people on the gold fields. 3. I do not anticipate any great danger to morality from the presence of a limited number of Chinese. I believe that in some parts of Victoria, where there have been large Chinese camps, there have been houses of ill-fame, to which young girls have been enticed ; but I do not think there is any danger of so large a body of Chinese being located in any one place in Otago as to give cause for serious anxiety on this head. 4. No doubt the Chinese are useful, both as miners and as agricultural and domestic servants. As yet, they have been chiefly employed in mining in this country; but if they became more numerous, I should expect to see them performing a great variety of menial work. 5. I am not aware of any intermarriages between Chinese and Europeans in this country, but in Victoria such unions were not uncommon. The women were mostly ignorant Irish. 6. Ido not think it desirable that anything should be done to promote Chinese immigration. If the Chinese continue to find a profitable field for their industry in New Zealand, they will come in quite sufficient numbers. On the contrary, I consider that a careful watch should be kept upon them as they arrive, and that it would be well for the Government to be armed with the power to check the influx at any time that it might begin to assume alarming dimensions. The only practicable way that I can suggest would be by a poll-tax on immigrants, to be collected from the captains of vessels bringing them. I have, <fee, W. J. Steward, Esq, M.H.R, H. AY. Robinson, Chairman, Chinese Immigration Committee. AVarden. Mr. Vincent Pyke to Mr. W. J. Steward. Sir,— Warden's Office, Clyde, 9th, September 1871. I do myself the honor to forward as under replies to questions (received by telegram) relative to Chinese immigration. 1. The only effect yet perceptible of such immigration upon the gold fields (so far at least as the Dunstan division is concerned), is to increase the yield of gold, by the working of ground abandoned aa being unpayable, or otherwise unwrought by European miners. 2. The Chinese do not mix or consort with Europeans, nor Europeans with them. The presence of the former does not therefore in anywise affect the general conduct of the mining population. If they gamble, it is with and amongst their own countrymen. There has not been any disturbance of the peace nor any collision between Chinese and Europeans in my district, nor do I apprehend any. The former are very well-behaved people, crime is exceedingly rare, and drunkenness almost unknown amongst them. They seldom appear in the Resident Magistrate's Court. They keep apart as much as possible from European miners, and are rarely involved in litigation. If they have any disputes between themselves, they settle them without reference to the AVarden. 3. I am not aware of any circumstances which would justify me in saying that there is any danger to the morality of the community, or to young children or girls, from the presence of the Chinese. 4. The Chinese are and have been useful in developing the gold fields. They are possessed of a great amount of patient industry and untiring application. Ido not know of any being employed in agricultural pursuits; but they are excellent gardeners, and are frequently engaged as such. They are also employed as cooks, and at hotels ; but I attribute this rather to the extravagant rates demanded on the gold fields by European domestic servants, than to any superior capacity or fitness for the work. 5. A'cry few intermarriages have yet taken place in Otago between Chinese and Europeans. The Chinese Interpreter, John Alloo, has an Irish wife, and they live together very happily —have a fine family of boys and girls, who are well educated, and speak and write English well. In Victoria, such marriages are very common, and generally turn out well. The wives, seem happy and contented with their self-chosen lot in life, and John Chinaman generally makes a good husband and father —much kinder, in fact, than the average European husband and father of the same grade. The Chinese usually marry respectable, well-conducted girls ; I never knew any intances of their marrying girls of bad character. 6. Ido not think it desirable that Chinese immigration should be promoted. Notwithstanding the foregoing auswers, the fact remains that the Chinese are not desirable associates for European colonists. They have no religion, nor any sense of truth, or what Western nations term " honor." Their word is not to be relied on, and they are prone to swear as is most convenient for their own purposes. They are uncleanly in their habits, and herd together after the manner of swine. I have had, in Victoria and Otago, nearly eighteen years' experience of them, and during a part of the time I was Chinese Protector at Bendigo, and Ido not consider the Chinese desirable colonists. And there is danger that, if they are suffered to come in larger numbers, they will cease to be the peaceable people which their present inferiority of number now compels them to be. Hundreds in Otago are equivalent to thousands in A rictoria, and there it was found necessary to check their in-rush by levying head-money for many years. I would certainly recommend that the disproportionate influx (relatively to the European population) wherewith Otago is threatened, should be checked by a similar meaaure—namely, a tax of £10 per head to be levied on the captains or owners of the vessels wherein the Chinese arrive. I would also suggest that Chinese merchandise should be taxed —opium heavily, and (as the Chinese imports usually consist of a very large number of small packages) that such merchandise should be taxed by cubic measurement. Rice would also bear a heavy tax; and another benefit—not to be lightly considered —would result from such taxation beyond the mere revenue collected : the Chinese would thereby be compelled to become purchasers and consumers of European and Colonial produce. This would go far to weaken the cry now raised, that the Chinese do not benefit the storekeeper and local producer. Another article largely imported by tho Chinese is peach brandy, and other potent Chinese liquors. A great deal of smuggling goes on in these liquors and in opium, and this can only 5

Working