Chinese Bondage in Peru: A History of the Chinese Coolie in Peru, 1849-1874

By Watt Stewart | Go to book overview

IX
THE GARCíA Y GARCíA MISSION -- CHINA

THE CIRCUMSTANCES under which Captain García y García negotiated his treaty with China were decidedly more "truly complicated" than those which he had confronted in Japan. For almost a quarter century the coolie traffic had been "one of China's great griefs," as an American minister declared about this time. "Both government and people feel that it is a great wrong and injustice, forced upon them against their will by foreign nations. This feeling . . . is universal."1 Dr. S. Wells Williams, of the American legation, a man of long experience in China, writing to García y García, asserted that "The atrocities and wrongs connected with this business have left the impression on the minds of those who know anything of the matter, that it is equivalent almost to a living death for one of their countrymen to be taken away as a coolie."2 The Chinese rulers considered Peru to have been one of the worst offenders in this traffic. "In the estimation of the Chinese, a Peruvian was little better than a kidnapper."3 The situation of the Peruvian envoy was made worse by the fact that at the moment China was engaged in an acrimonious controversy with Spain regarding the coolie trade and the treatment of its nationals in Cuba. In Chinese popular opinion, Peruvians were

____________________
1
F. F. Low to Secretary of State, June 24, 1872, No. 166, Diplomatic Despatches, China 32.
2
Peking, Sept. 22, 1873 (encl. with No. 11), Despatches, China 35.
3
Eli T. Sheppard, United States consul, Tientsin, to Williams, July 15, 1874 (encl. with Williams' No. 49), Diplomatic Despatches, China 36.

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