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Title: Heathen Slaves and Christian Rulers
Author: Andrew, Elizabeth Wheeler, 1845-1917, Bushnell, Katharine Caroline, 1855-1946
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Heathen Slaves and Christian Rulers" ***

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"_Remember them that are in bonds as bound with them_."

[Illustration: A Chinatown Slave Market and Den of Vice. (Built and
owned by Americans.)]



--AND TO--



"Heathen slaves and Christian rulers." No injustice is done to
Christians in the title given this book. The word "Christian" is
capable of use in two senses, individual and political. We apply the
words "Hindoo" and "Mahommedan" in these two senses also. A man who
has been born and brought up in the environment of the Hindoo or
Mahommedan religions, and who has not avowed some other form of faith,
but has yielded at least an outward allegiance to these forms, we
declare to be a man of one or the other faith. Moreover, we judge of
his religion by the fruits of it in his moral character. Just so,
every European or American who has not openly disavowed the Christian
religion for some other faith is called a "Christian." Furthermore,
such men, when they mingle with those of other religions, as in the
Orient, call themselves "Christians," in distinction from those of
other faith about them. They claim the word "Christian" as by right
theirs in this political sense, and it is in this sense that we employ
the word "Christian" in the title of this book. The word is used thus
when reckoning the world's population according to religions.

As we treat the Hindoo or Mohammedan so he treats us. Our Christianity
is judged, and must ever be, in the Orient, by the moral character of
the men who are called Christian; and the distinguishing vices of
such men are regarded as characteristic of their religion. Official
representatives of a Christian nation have gone to Hong Kong and to
Singapore, and there, because of their social vices, elaborated a
system, first of all of brothel slavery; and domestic slavery has
sheltered itself under its wing, as it were; and lastly, at Singapore
coolie labor is managed by the same set of officials. What these
officials have done has been accepted by the Oriental people about
them as done by the Christian civilization. It cannot be said that the
evils mentioned above have been the outgrowth of Oriental conditions
and customs, principally. It has been rather the misfortune of
the Orient that there were brought to their borders by Western
civilization elements calculated to induce their criminal classes to
ally themselves with these aggressive and stronger "Christians" to
destroy safeguards which had been heretofore sufficient, for the most
part, to conserve Chinese social morality.

Christian people, even as far back as Sir John Bowring, Governor
of Hong Kong, and up to the present time, both at Hong Kong and
Singapore, have acquiesced in the false teaching that vice cannot be
put under check in the Orient, where, it is claimed, passion mounts
higher than in the Occident, and that morality is, to a certain
extent, a matter of climate; and in the presence of large numbers of
unmarried soldiers and sailors it is simply "impracticable" to attempt
repressive measures in dealing with social vice. These Christians
have listened to counsels of despair,--the arguments of gross
materialists,--and have shut their eyes to the plainly written THOU
SHALT NOT of the finger of God in His Book.

Had there been the same staunch standing true to principle in these
Oriental countries as in Great Britain the state of immorality
described in the pages of this book could never have developed to the
extent it did. But Christians yielded before what they considered at
least unavoidable, and, not abiding living protests, must take their
share of blame for the state of matters. A higher moral public opinion
_could_ have been created which would have made the existence of
actual slavery an impossibility, with the amount of legislation that
existed with which to put it down. There were a guilty silence and
a guilty ignorance on the part of the better elements of Christian
society at Singapore and Hong Kong, which could be played upon by
treacherous, corrupt officials by the flimsy device of calling the
ravishing of native women "protection," and the most brazen forms of
slavery "servitude." To this extent the individual Christians of these
colonies are in many cases guilty of compromise with slavery; and to
this extent the title of this book applies to them.

The vices of European and American men in the Orient have not been
the development of climate but of opportunity. It is not so easy in
Christian lands to stock immoral houses with slaves, for the reason
that the slaves are not present with which to do it. Women have
freedom and cannot be openly bought and sold even in marriage; women
have self-reliance and self-respect in a Christian country; they have
a clean, decent religion; women who worship the true God have His
protecting arm to defend themselves, and through them other women
who do not personally worship God share in the benefits. If free,
independent women of God were as scarce in America as in Hong Kong the
same moral conditions would prevail here, without regard to climate,
for, _if women could be bought and sold and reduced by force to
prostitution, there are libertines enough, and they have propensities
strong enough to enter at once upon the business, even in America_.
That which has elevated women above this slave condition is the
development of a self-respect and dignity born of the Christian faith.
But let us take warning. If the women of America have not the decent
self-respect to refuse to tolerate the Oriental slave-prostitute in
this country, the balance will be lost, libertines will have their own
way through the introduction into our social fabric of their slaves,
and Christian womanhood will fall before it. "Ye have not proclaimed
liberty every one to his fellow, therefore I proclaim liberty to you,
saith the Lord, to the sword, and the famine, and the pestilence."

Having yielded before counsels of despair, those who should have stood
shoulder to shoulder with statesmen like Sir John Pope Hennessy and
Sir John Smale in their efforts to exterminate slavery, rather, by
their indifference and ignorance, greatly added to the obstacles put
in their way by unworthy officials.

The story we have to relate cannot in any fairness be used as an
arraignment of British Christianity excepting as we have already
indicated as to local conditions. The record that British Christian
philanthropists have made, under the leadership of the now sainted
Mrs. Josephine Butler, in their world-wide influence for purity, needs
no eulogy from our pen. It is known to the world. May Americans strive
with equal energy against conditions far more hopeful of amendment,
and we will be content to leave the issue with God.

It was our purpose when we undertook the task of writing a sketch
which would enable Americans to understand the social conditions that
are being introduced into our midst from the Orient, merely to make
a concise, brief statement of social conditions in Hong Kong out of
which these have grown, drawing our information from State Documents
of the British Government that we have had for some time in our
possession, and of which we have made a close study, as well as from
our own observations of the conditions themselves as they exist at
Hong Kong and Singapore. But almost at once we abandoned that attempt
as unwise because likely to prove injurious rather than helpful to the
object we have in view. The facts that we have to relate form one of
the blackest chapters in the history of human slavery, and slavery
brought up to the present time. Our statements if standing merely on
our own word would be met at once with incredulity and challenged, and
before we could defend them by producing the proof, a prejudice would
be created that might prove disastrous to our hopes of arousing our
country to the point of exterminating this horrible Oriental brothel
slavery by means of which even American men are enriching themselves
on the Pacific Coast.

Therefore we have felt obliged to produce our proof at once and at
first, and after that, if needed, we can write a more simple, concise
account, in less official and less cumbersome form, more suitable for
the general public to read,--not that the case could be stated in
purer or cleaner language than that used in the quotations from
official statements and letters, but the language might be more suited
to public taste. But worth cannot be sacrificed to taste, and, as we
have said, we feel compelled to publish the matter in its present form
first of all.

We send it forth, therefore, with the earnest prayer that, while
the book itself may have a limited circulation, yet, through the
providence of God, it may arouse some one to attempt that which seems
beyond our powers and opportunity,--some one who will feel the call of
God; who has the training and the ability; some one who has the spirit
of devotion and self-denial; some one of keen moral perceptions and
lofty faith in the ultimate triumph of justice, who will lead a
crusade that will never halt until Oriental slavery is banished from
our land, and it can no more be said, "The name of God is blasphemed
among the heathen because of you."

The documents from which we have quoted so extensively in this book
are the following:

"_Correspondence Relating to the Working of the Contagious Diseases
Ordinances of the Colony of Hongkong_." August 1881. C.-3093.

"_Copy of Report of the Commissioners Appointed by His Excellency,
John Pope Hennessy ... to inquire Into the Working of the Contagious
Diseases Ordinance, 1867_." March 11, 1880. H.C. 118.

"_Correspondence Respecting the Alleged Existence of Chinese Slavery
in Hongkong_." March, 1882. C.-3185.

"_Return of all the British Colonies and Dependencies in Which by
Ordinance or Otherwise Any System Involving the Principles of the Late
Contagious Diseases Acts, 1866 and 1869, is in force, with Copies of
Such Ordinances or Other Regulations_." June, 1886. H.C. 247.

"_Copies of Correspondence or Extracts Therefrom Relating to the
Repeal of Contagious Diseases Ordinances and Regulations in the Crown
Colonies_." September, 1887. H.C. 347

Same as above, in continuation, March, 1889. H.C. 59.

Same as above, in continuation, June, 1890. H.C. 242.

"_Copy of Correspondence which has taken place since that comprised
in the Paper presented to the House of Commons in 1890_ (H.C. 242),"
etc., June 4, 1894. H. C. 147.

"_Copy of Correspondence Relative to Proposed Introduction of
Contagious Diseases Regulations in Perak or Other Protected Malay
States_." June 4, 1894. H.C. 146.

May 1907









Time was when so-called Christian civilization seemed able to send its
vices abroad and keep its virtues at home. When men went by long
sea voyages to the far East in sailing vessels, in the interests of
conquest or commerce, and fell victims to their environments and weak
wills, far removed from the restraints of religious influences, and
from the possibility of exposure and disgrace in wrongdoing, they
lived with the prospect before them, not always unfulfilled, of
returning to home and to virtue to die.

That day has passed forever. With the invention of steam as a
locomotive power of great velocity, with the introduction of the
cable, and later, the wireless telegraphy; with the mastery of these
natural forces and their introduction in every part of the world, we
see the old world being drawn nearer and nearer to us by ten thousand
invisible cords of commercial interests, until shortly, probably
within the lifetime of you and me, the once worn out and almost
stranded wreck will be found quickened with new life and moored
alongside us. The Orient is already feeling the thrill of renewed
life. It is responding to the touch of the youth and vigor of the
West and becoming rejuvenated; it is drawing closer and closer in its
eagerness for the warmth of new interests. The West is no longer alone
in seeking a union; the East is coming to the West. And that part of
the East which first responds to the West is the old acquaintance; the
one that knows most about us, our ways and our resources; the element
with which the long sea-voyager mingled in the days when it seemed
more difficult for man to be virtuous, because separated so far from
family and friends and living in intense loneliness. The element which
now draws closest to us is that portion of the Orient with which the
adventurer warred and sinned long ago, and which bears the deep scars
of sin and battle.

As the old hulk is moored alongside, in order that the man of Western
enterprise may cross with greater facility the gangplank and develop
latent resources on the other side, the Easterner hurries across from
his side to ours with no less eagerness, to pick up gold in a land
where it seems so abundant to him. Almost unnoticed, the Orient is
telescoping its way into the very heart of the Occident, and with
fearful portent and peril, particularly to the Western woman.

This is not what is desired, but it will be inevitable. Exclusion
laws must finally give way before the pressure. Already the Orient is
knocking vigorously at the door of the Occident, and unless admission
is granted soon, measures of retaliation will be operated to force an
entrance. How to administer them the Orient already knows, for has
not the door to his domicile been already forced open by the Western
trader? The Orient is fast arming for the conflict.

The men of the days of sailing vessels, who went to the far East and
made sport of and trampled upon the virtue of the women of a weaker
nation, have not all died in peace, leaving their vices far off
and gathering virtues about them to crown their old age with
venerableness. Some have lived to see that whatsoever man soweth that
shall he also reap. They have lived to see the tide setting in in the
other direction, and the human wreckage of past vices swept by the
current of immigration close to their own domicile. Their own children
are in danger of being engulfed in the polluting flood of Oriental
life in our midst. After many days vices come home. Man sowed the
wind; the whirlwind must be reaped. The Oriental slave trader and the
Oriental slave promise to become a terrible menace and scourge to our
twentieth century civilization. Herein lies great peril to American
womanhood. Whether we wish it to be so or not,--whether we perceive
from the first that it is so or not, there is a solidarity of
womanhood that men and women must reckon with. The man who wrongs
another's daughter perceives afterwards that he wronged his own
daughter thereby. We cannot, without sin against humanity, ask the
scoffer's question, "Am I my sister's keeper?"--not even concerning
the poorest and meanest foreign woman, for the reason that _she is
our sister_. The conditions that surround the Hong Kong slave girl in
California are bound in time to have their influence upon the social,
legal and moral status of all California women, and later of all
American womanhood.

In considering the life history of the Chinese woman living in our
Chinatowns in America, therefore, we are studying matters of vital
importance to us. And in order to a clear understanding of the matter,
we must go back to the beginning of the slave-trade which has brought
these women to the West.

Four points on the south coast of China are of especial interest to
us, being the sources of supply of this slave-trade. These are Macao,
Canton, Kowloon and Hong Kong, and the women coming to the West from
this region all pass through Hong Kong, remaining there a longer or
shorter time, the latter place being the emporium and thoroughfare of
all the surrounding ports.

The south coast of China is split by a Y-shaped gap, at about its
middle, where the Canton river bursts the confines of its banks and
plunges into the sea. The lips of this mouth of the river are everted
like those of an aboriginal African, and like a pendant from the
eastern lip hangs the Island of Hong Kong, separated from the mainland
by water only one-fourth of a mile wide. From the opposite or western
lip hangs another pendant, a small island upon which is situated the
Portuguese city of Macao. The mainland adjoining Hong Kong is the
peninsula of Kowloon, ceded to the British with the island of Hong
Kong. Well up in the mouth of the river on its western bank, some
eighty miles from Hong Kong, is the city of Canton.

Let us imagine for a moment that the on-coming civilization of our
country pushed the American Indians not westward but southward toward
the Gulf of Mexico and along the banks of the Mississippi, and
compressed them on every side until at last they were obliged to take
to boats in the mouth of the Mississippi and live there perpetually,
seldom stepping foot on land.

Now we are the better able to understand exactly what took place with
an aboriginal tribe in China. These aborigines were, centuries ago,
pushed southward by an on-coming civilization until at last, by
imperial decree, they were forbidden to live anywhere except on boats
in the mouth of the Canton river, floating up and down that stream,
and sailing about Hong Kong and Macao in the more open sea.

They must have been always a hardy people, for the river population
about Canton numbers today nearly 200,000 souls. In 1730, the severity
of the laws regulating their lives was relaxed somewhat by imperial
decree, and since then some of them have dwelt in villages along the
river bank. But to the present day these people, known as the Tanka
Tribe, or the "saltwater" people, by the natives, may not inter-marry
with other Chinese, nor are they ever allowed to attain to official

Living always on boats near the river's mouth, these were the first
Chinese to come in contact with foreign sailing vessels which
approached China in the earliest days. They sold their wares to the
foreigners; they piloted their boats into port; they did the laundry
work for the ships. In many ways they showed friendliness to the
foreigners while as yet the landsman viewed the new-comers with
suspicion. Their women were grossly corrupted by contact with the
foreign voyagers and sailors.

Hong Kong was a long way off at the beginning of the nineteenth
century, when Great Britain began to send Government-manufactured
opium from India to China, and when China prohibited the trade the
drug was smuggled in. When Chinese officials at last rose up to check
this invasion by foreign trade, wars followed in which China was
worsted, and the island of Hong Kong, together with the Kowloon
peninsula, became a British possession as war indemnity. Hong Kong
is a "mere dot in the ocean less than twenty-seven miles in
circumference," and when Great Britain took possession its inhabitants
were limited to "a few fishermen and cottagers."

The Tankas helped the British in many ways in waging these wars, and
when peace was established went to live with them on the island. This
action on the part of these "river people" is significant as showing
as much or more attachment to the foreigner than to the other classes
of Chinese. There seems always to be less conscience in wronging
an alien people than in injuring a people to whom one is closely
attached, and this sense of estrangement from other Chinese may
account to some extent for the facility with which this aboriginal
people engaged, a little later, in the trade in women and girls
brought from the mainland to meet the demands of profligate

Sir Charles Elliott, Governor of Hong Kong, wishing to attract Chinese
immigration to the island, issued, on February 1st and 2nd, 1841, two
proclamations in the name of the Queen, to the effect that there would
be no interference with the free exercise on the part of the Chinese
of their religious rites, ceremonies and social customs, "pending Her
Majesty's pleasure."

Following the custom of all Oriental people, to whom marriage is a
trade in the persons of women, when the Tankas saw that the foreigners
had come to that distant part almost universally without wife or
family, they offered to sell them women and girls, and the British
seem to have purchased them at first, but afterwards they modified the
practice to merely paying a monthly stipend. All slavery throughout
British possessions had been prohibited only a few years before the
settlement of Hong Kong, in 1833, when 20,000,000 pounds had been
distributed by England as a boon to slave-holders.

Hong Kong's first Legislative Council was held in 1844, and its first
ordinance was an anti-slavery measure in the form of an attempt to
define the law relating to slavery. It was a long process in those
days for the Colony to get the Queen's approval of its legislative
measures, so that a year had elapsed before a dispatch was returned
from the Home Government disallowing the Ordinance as superfluous,
slavery being already forbidden, and slave-dealing indictable by law.
On the same day, January 24th, 1845, the following proclamation was
made: "Whereas, the Acts of the British Parliament for the abolition
of the slave trade, and for the abolition of slavery, extend by their
own proper force and authority to Hong Kong: This is to apprise all
persons of the same, and to give notice that these Acts will be
enforced by all Her Majesty's officers, civil and military, within
this Colony."

The "foreigners," by which name, according to a custom which prevails
to this day in the East, we shall call persons of British, European or
American birth,--called a native mistress a "protected woman," and her
"protector" set her up in an establishment by herself, apart from
his abode, and here children were born to the foreigner, some to be
educated in missionary schools and elsewhere by their illegitimate
fathers and afterwards become useful men and women, but probably the
majority, more neglected, to become useless and profligate,--if girls,
mistresses to foreigners, or, as the large number of half-castes in
the immoral houses at Hong Kong at the present time demonstrates, to
fall to the lowest depths of degradation.

These "protected women," enriched beyond anything they had even known
before the foreigner came to that part of the world, with the usual
thrift of the Chinese temperament, sought for a way to invest their
earnings, and quite naturally, could think of nothing so profitable
as securing women and girls to meet the demands of the foreigners.
Marriage having always been, to the Oriental mind, scarcely anything
beyond the mere trade in the persons of women, it was but a step from
that attitude of mind to the selling of girls to the foreigner, and
the rearing of them for that object. The "protected women," being of
the Tanka tribe, were well situated for this purpose, for they had
many relations of kindred and friendship all up and down the Canton
river, and the business of the preparation of slave girls for the
foreigners and for foreign markets (as the trade expanded) gradually
extended backwards up the Canton river, until many of its boats were
almost given over to it. "Flower-boats" were probably never unknown to
this river, but, besides their use as brothels, they became stocked
with little girls under training for vice, under the incitement of an
ever-growing slave trade. These little girls were bought, stolen or
enticed from the mainland by these river people, to swell the number
of their own children destined to the infamous slave trade. Chinese
law forbids this kind of slavery, but, as we have seen, the Tanka
people were sort of outlaws, the river life facilitated such a
business, and Hong Kong was near at hand.

In later years Dr. Eitel, Chinese interpreter to the Governor, stated:

"Almost every so-called 'protected woman,' i.e. kept mistress of
foreigners here, belongs to the Tanka tribe, looked down upon and kept
at a distance by all the other Chinese classes. It is among these
Tanka women, and especially under the protection of these 'protected'
Tanka women, that private prostitution and the sale of girls for
concubinage flourishes, being looked upon as a legitimate profession.
Consequently, almost every 'protected woman' keeps a nursery of
purchased children or a few servant girls who are being reared with
a view to their eventual disposal, according to their personal
qualifications, either among foreigners here as kept women, or among
Chinese residents as their concubines, or to be sold for export to
Singapore, San Francisco, or Australia. Those 'protected women,'
moreover, generally act as 'protectors' each to a few other Tanka
women who live by sly prostitution."

When once a man enters the service of Satan he is generally pressed
along into it to lengths he did not at first intend to go. So it
proved in the case of many foreigners at Hong Kong. The foreigner
extended his "protection" to a native mistress. That "protected woman"
extended his name as "protector" over the inmates of her secret
brothel; and into that house protected largely from official
interference, purchased and kidnaped girls were introduced and reared
for the trade in women. The sensitive point seems to have been that
an enforcement of the anti-slavery laws would have interfered in many
instances with the illicit relations of the foreigner, exposing him
to ignominy and sending the mother of his children to prison. It was
sufficient for the "protected" woman to say, when the officer of the
law rapped at her door, "This is not a brothel, but the private
family residence of Mr. So-and-So," naming some foreigner,--perhaps
a high-placed official,--and the officer's search would proceed no

It was claimed that this slavery, and also domestic slavery, which
sprang up so suddenly after the settlement of Hong Kong by the
British, was the outgrowth of Chinese customs, and could not be
suppressed but with the greatest difficulty, and their suppression
was an unwarrantable interference with Chinese customs, Sir Charles
Elliott having given promise from the first that such customs should
not be interfered with. But, as we have shown, that promise was only
made, "pending Her Majesty's pleasure," which had been very plainly
and pointedly expressed later as opposed to slavery.

As to the matter of "custom," Sir John Smale, Chief Justice of
Hong Kong, said, in 1879, in the Supreme Court, on the occasion of
sentencing prisoners for slave trading and kidnaping:

    "Can Chinese slavery, as it _de facto_ exists in Hong Kong, be
    considered a Chinese custom which can be brought within the intent
    and meaning of either of the proclamations of 1841 so as to be
    sanctioned by the proclamations? I assert that it cannot.... A
    custom is 'such a usage as by common consent and uniform practice
    has become a law.' In 1841 there could have been no custom of
    slavery in Hong Kong as now set up, for, save a few fishermen and
    cottagers, the island was uninhabited; and between 1841 and 1844,
    the date of the Ordinance expressly prohibiting slavery, there was
    no time for such a custom to have grown up; and slavery in
    every form having been by express law prohibited by the Royal
    proclamation of the Queen in 1845, no custom contrary to that law
    could, after that date, grow up, because the thing was by express
    law illegal. I go further, and I find that the penal law of China,
    whilst it facilitates the adoption of children into a family to
    keep up its succession, prohibits by section 78 the receiving into
    his house by any one of a person of a different surname, declaring
    him guilty of 'confounding family distinctions,' and punishing him
    with 60 blows; the father of the son who shall 'give away' ... his
    son is to be subject to the same punishment. Again, section 79
    enacts that whosoever shall receive and detain the strayed or lost
    child of a respectable person, and, instead of taking it before
    the magistrate, sell such child as a slave, shall be punished by
    100 blows and three years' banishment. Whosoever shall sell such
    child for marriage or adoption into any family as son or grandson
    shall be punished with 90 blows and banishment for two years and
    a half. Whosoever shall dispose of a strayed or lost slave shall
    suffer the punishment provided by the law reduced one degree. If
    any person shall receive or detain a fugitive child, and, instead
    of taking it before the magistrate, sell such child for a slave,
    he shall be punished by 90 blows and banishment for two years and
    a half. Whosoever shall sell any such fugitive child for marriage
    or adoption shall suffer the punishment of 80 blows and two years'
    banishment.... Whosoever shall detain for his own use as a slave,
    wife, or child, any such lost, strayed or fugitive child or slave,
    shall be equally liable to be punished as above mentioned, but if
    only guilty of detaining the same for a short time the punishment
    shall not exceed 80 blows. When the purchaser or the negotiator of
    the purchase shall be aware of the unlawfulness of the transaction
    he shall suffer punishment one degree less than that inflicted on
    the seller, and the amount of the pecuniary consideration shall
    he forfeited to Government, but when he or they are foun
    have been unacquainted therewith they shall not be liable to
    punishment, and the money shall be restored to the party from whom
    it had been received." The Chief Justice continues: "After reading
    these extracts from the Penal Code of China--an old Code revised
    from time to time ... I cannot see how it can be maintained that
    any form of slavery was ever tolerated by law in Hong Kong, as it
    _de facto_ exists here, or how the words of the two proclamations
    of 1841 could be said to bear the color of tolerating slavery
    under the British flag in Hong Kong. It is clear to me that the
    Queen's proclamation of 1845, which I have already quoted at full,
    declares slavery absolutely illegal here."

The truth, then, seems to be that a great demand had arisen for
Chinese women at Hong Kong, the most direct cause being the irregular
conduct of foreigners--officials, private individuals, soldiers and
sailors--who gathered there at the time of the opium wars, and settled
there in large numbers when Hong Kong became a British possession.
This demand was responded to from the native side, for it was said:
"When the colony of Hong Kong was first established in 1842, it
was forthwith invaded by brothel keepers and prostitutes from the
adjoining districts of the mainland of China, who brought with them
the national Chinese system of prostitution, and have ever since
labored to carry it into effect in all its details."[A] The demand
that brought this supply was further added to from two sources, first,
Chinese residents attracted to Hong Kong had made money there rapidly,
and had fallen into profligate and luxurious manners of life,
and second, Chinese going abroad to Australia, Singapore and San
Francisco, created a demand for immoral women in these foreign lands
which called for supplies from Hong Kong, and at Singapore the demand
came also from the class of foreigners who resided there.

[Footnote A: Hong Kong was occupied by the British in 1841, but not
ceded until 1842.]

The system of management of prostitution was originally Chinese, and
differs much from anything known under Western civilization, in that
the women are never what we speak of as "fallen women," because not
the victims of seduction nor of base propensities that have led to the
choice of such a life. They are either slaves trained for or sold into
shame, or women temporarily held for debt by a sort of mortgage. To
this Chinese system of prostitution, however, there was soon applied
at Hong Kong a Government system of regulation or license under
surveillance. This modified the system, intensified the slavery, and
was the cause of reducing many women from the respectable ranks
of Chinese life at once and arbitrarily to the lowest depths of
degradation, as we shall explain and demonstrate in subsequent

The native woman, rented for a monthly stipend from her owners was
called "protected" at Hong Kong. What charm this word "protection,"
and the title "Protector" has held for certain persons, as applied
to the male sex! "Man, the natural protector of woman." Forsooth, to
protect her from what? Rattlesnakes, buffalo, lions, wildcats no more
overrun the country, and why is this relation of "protector" still
claimed? Why, to protect woman from rudeness, and insult and sometimes
even worse. But from whence comes that danger of rudeness and insult
or worse from which man is to protect woman? From man, of course.
Man is, then, woman's natural protector to protect her from man, her
natural protector. He is to set himself the task of defending her
from his injury of her, and he is charmed with the avocation. He will
protect her as Abraham protected Sarah when he took her into Egypt.
"Do so-and-so," said Abraham to Sarah, "that it may be well with
me,--for thy sake." The history of the Chinese slave woman as she came
in contact with the foreigner at Hong Kong and at Singapore proceeds
all along a pathway labelled "protection," down to the last ditch of
human degradation. "Well with me," was the motive in the mind of the
"protector." "For thy sake," the argument for the thing as put before
the woman and before the world.



In 1849 a man whose name is known the world over as a writer of
Christian hymns, went to Canton as British Consul and Superintendent
of trade. After a few years he returned to England, and in 1854 was
knighted and sent out to govern the new colony of Hong Kong. It is he
who wrote that beautiful hymn, among others, "Watchman, tell us of
the night." He also wrote, "In the Cross of Christ I Glory." One is
tempted to ask, in which Cross?--the kind made of gilded tin which
holds itself aloft in pride on the top of the church steeple, or
the Cross proclaimed in the challenge of the great Cross-bearer,
"Whosoever doth not bear his Cross, and come after Me, cannot be my
disciple"? The Cross is the emblem of self-sacrifice for the salvation
of the world. Oh, that men really gloried in such self-sacrifice, and
held it forth as the worthiest principle of life! Did Sir John Bowring
hold aloft such a Cross as this, and, with his Master, recommend it
to the world as the means of its elevation and emancipation from the
blight of sin? We shall not judge him individually. His example should
be a warning to the fact that even the most religious men can too
often hold very different views of life according to whether they are
embodied in religious sentiments or in one's politics. But nowhere are
right moral conceptions more needed (not in hymn-book nor in church),
as in the enactments by which one's fellow-beings are governed. Other
religious men not so conspicuous as Sir John Bowring, but of more
enlightened days than his, have died and left on earth a testimony to
strangely divergent views and principles, according to whether they
were crystallized in religious sentiments, or in the laws of the land,
and according to whether they legislated for men or for women.

On May 2nd, 1856, Sir John Bowring, Governor of Hong Kong, wrote to
the Secretary of State for the Colonies at London submitting a draft
of an Ordinance which was desired at Hong Kong because of certain
conditions prevailing at Hong Kong which were described in the
enclosures in his despatch. Mr. Labouchere, the Secretary of State for
the Colonies at the time, replied to the Governor's representations
in the following language: "The Colonial Government has not, I think,
attached sufficient weight to the very grave fact that in a British
Colony large numbers of women should be held in practical slavery for
the purposes of prostitution, and allowed in some cases to perish
miserably of disease in the prosecution of their employment, and for
the gain of those to whom they suppose themselves to belong. A class
of persons who by no choice of their own are subjected to such
treatment have an urgent claim on the active protection of

Hong Kong, the British colony, had existed but fourteen years when
this was written. Only a handful of fishermen and cottagers were on
the island before the British occupation. Its Chinese population had
come from a country where, as we have seen, laws against the buying
and selling, detaining and kidnaping human beings were not unfamiliar.
Only eleven years had elapsed since the Queen's proclamation against
slavery in that colony had been published to its inhabitants, and yet,
during that time, slavery had so advanced at Hong Kong, against
both Chinese and British law, as to receive this recognition and
acknowledgment on the part of the Secretary of State at London:

    1st, That it is a "grave fact that" at Hong Kong "large numbers of
    women" are "held in practical slavery."

    2nd, That this slavery is "for the gain of those to whom they
    suppose themselves to belong."

    3rd, That it is so cruel that "in some cases" they "perish
    miserably ... in the prosecution of their employment."

    4th, That it is "by no choice of their own" that they prosecute
    their employment, and "are subjected to such treatment."

    5th, That they have "an urgent claim upon the active protection of

    6th, That the service to which these slaves are doomed, through
    "no choice of their own," is the most degraded to which a slave
    could possibly be reduced, i.e., "prostitution."

When Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin," she sounded
the note of doom for slavery in the United States. After that, slavery
became intolerable. Many have remarked on the fact that the book
should have so stirred the conscience of the Christian world, when
there are depicted in it so many even engaging features and admirable
persons, woven into the story of wrong. Her pen did not seem to make
slavery appear always and altogether black. But there was the fate of
"Uncle Tom," and the picture of "Cassie," captive of "Legree." It was
not what slavery always was, but _what it might be_--the terrible
possibilities, that aroused the conscience of Christendom, and made
the perpetuation of African slavery an impossibility to Americans.
The master _might_ choose to use his power over the slave for the
indulgence of his own basest propensities.

Almost at the same time of these stirring events connected with
slavery in the United States, Mr. Labouchere penned the above words,
admitting that slavery at Hong Kong had descended to that lowest
level. Infamy instead of industry was the lot of these, engaged in the
"prosecution of their employment," through "no choice of their own."

Can we anticipate what legal measures would be asked for at Hong Kong,
and granted in London in order to relieve this horrible condition.
It seems at once obvious that the following would be some of them at

    1st, A clear announcement that this slavery was prohibited by
    the Queen's Anti-Slavery Proclamation of 1845, and would not be

    2nd, Women who "supposed themselves to belong" to masters would be
    at once told that they were free agents and belonged to no one.

    3rd, The master who dared claim the ownership of a former slave
    would be prosecuted and suitably punished.

    4th, Any slave perishing miserably from disease would not only be
    healed at public expense, but placed where there was no further
    risk of contagion.

    5th, Since such slaves had "an urgent claim on the _active_
    protection of the Government," they would be treated as wards of
    the State until safe from like treatment a second time.

    6th, Since this slavery had sprung up in defiance of law, any
    official who at a future time connived at such crime would be
    liable to impeachment.

The Ordinance sent home for sanction, and approved of by Mr.
Labouchere as needed for the "protection" of slave women, was
proclaimed as Ordinance 12, 1857, after some slight modifications, and
an official appointed a few months before, called the "Protector of
Chinese," was charged with the task of its enforcement. This official
is also called the Registrar General at Hong Kong, but the former name
was given him at the first, and the official at Singapore charged
with the same duties is always, to this day, called the "Protector of

The new Ordinance embodied the following features:

    1st, The registration of immoral houses.

    2nd, Their confinement to certain localities.

    3rd, The payment of registration fees to the Government.

    4th, A periodical, compulsory, indecent examination of every woman

    5th, The imprisonment of the slave in the Lock Hospital until
    cured, and then a return to her master and the exact conditions
    under which she was "from no choice of her own," exposed to
    contagion, with the expectation that she would be shortly returned
    again infected.

    6th, The punishment by imprisonment of the slave when any man was
    found infected from consorting with her, through "no choice of her

    7th, The punishment by fine and imprisonment of all persons
    keeping slaves in an _un_registered house (which was not a source
    of profit to the Government).

This was the only sort of "active protection" that the Government
of Hong Kong at that time provided to the slave. The matter of
"protection" which concerned the "Protector of Chinese," related to
keeping the women from becoming incapacitated in the prosecution of
their employment, and to seeing that the hopelessly diseased were
eliminated from the herd of slaves. The rest of the "protection"
looked to the physical well-being of another portion of the
community--the fornicators. If physical harm came to them from wilful
sin, the Chinese women would be punished by imprisonment for it,
though their sin was forced upon them. This was "protection" from the
official standpoint.

Mr. Labouchere had replied with his approval of this Ordinance dealing
with contagious diseases due to vice, as though the application for
the measure had been made in behalf of the slaves of Hong Kong. Such
was not the case. The enclosures in Sir John Bowring's despatch had
been a sensational description of the urgent need of vicious men for
the active protection of the Government from the consequences of
their vices. Later, a Commission of Inquiry into the working of this
Ordinance comments upon official statements as to the satisfactory
consequences of the enactment of the measure in the checking of
disease. The Commission demonstrates that in many instances their
statements were absolute falsehoods, as proved by statements made by
the same officials elsewhere. Since these officials are proved to have
been so untruthful after the passing of the Ordinance, we can put no
reliance on their statements previous to its enactments, and the
more so because the statistics for Hong Kong in its early days are
hopelessly confused with the general statistics for all China,
wherever British soldiers or sailors were to be found. Therefore they
are unavailable for citation. But as to statements made after the
passage of the Ordinance, we append a compilation, as set forth by Dr.
Birkbeck Nevins of Liverpool, England.


    "Referring to the Colonial Surgeon's Department, we feel bound
    to point out that those portions of the _Annual Medical Reports_
    which refer to the subject of the Lock Hospital _have, in too many
    instances, been altogether misleading_." (Report of Commission, p.
    2, parag. 2.)

    "In 1862 (five years after the Act had been in force) Dr. Murray
    was '_completely satisfied_ with the _incalculable_ benefit that
    had resulted to the colony from the Ordinance of 1857'"[A]

    [Footnote A: An extreme form of C.D. Acts, without parallel in any
    other place under British rule.]

    "In 1865 (after eight years' experience) he wrote, 'the _good_ the
    Ordinance does _is undoubted_; but the good it might do, were all
    the unlicensed brothels suppressed, was incalculable.'"

    "In 1867 (after ten years' experience) the _public_ was informed
    that the Ordinance had been 'on trial for nearly ten years, and
    _had done singular service_.'"

    _Yet in this very same year_--1867, April 19th--"Dr. Murray stated
    in an _Official Report not intended for publication_, but found
    by the Commission among other Government papers, and
    published,--'That venereal disease has been _on the increase_,
    in spite of all that has been done to check it, _is no new
    discovery_; it has already been brought before the notice of His
    Excellency.'" (Report, p. 35, pars. 4 and 5.)

    What is to be thought of the character of such reports for the
    _Public_, and such an _Official Report_, "not _intended_ to be

    This same Dr. Murray's Annual Report for the _Public_ for
    1867, was _actually put in evidence before the House of Lords'
    Committee_ on venereal diseases--1868, page 135. "Venereal disease
    here has now become of _comparatively rare occurrence_." Yet the
    _Army_ Report for the previous year (1866, page 115) states that
    "the admissions to hospital for venereal disease were 281 per 1000
    men;" i.e., more than one man in four of the whole soldiery had
    been in hospital for this "comparatively rare" disease.

    As regards the Navy, Dr. Murray says, "the evidence of Dr.
    Bernard, the Deputy Inspector-General of Hospitals and Fleets, is
    even more satisfactory. He writes (Jan. 27), 'I am enabled to say
    that true syphilis is now rarely contracted by our men in Hong
    Kong.'" Yet the "China station," in which Hong Kong occupies so
    important a position, had at the time 25 per cent. more _secondary
    (true) syphilis than any other naval station in the world, except
    one (the S.E. American_); it had 101 of _primary (true) against
    68 in the North American_, 31 in the S.E. American, and 22 in the
    Australian stations (_all unprotected_); and _gonorrhoea_ was
    _higher than in any other naval station in the world_. This
    _official_ misleading feature is to be found in other quarters
    than Dr. Murray's Reports; for in the _Navy_ Report for 1873
    (p. 282), Staff Surgeon Bennett, medical officer of the ship
    permanently stationed in Hong Kong, says--"Owing to the excellent
    working of the Contagious Diseases Acts, venereal complaints in
    the colony are reduced _to a minimum_. The _few cases_ of syphilis
    are chiefly due to private prostitutes not known to the police."

In a representation made to the Secretary of State by W.H. Sloggett,
Inspector of Certified Hospitals, October 7, 1879, we get an exact
account of what led to the passage of the Contagious Diseases
Ordinance of 1857. He says: "In 1857, owing to the very strong
representations which had been made to the Governor during the
previous three years, by different naval officers in command of the
China Station, of the prevalence and severity of venereal disease at
Hong Kong, a Colonial Ordinance for checking these diseases was passed
in November of that year."

When Lord Kimberley was Secretary of State he wrote (on September 29,
1880) Governor Hennessy of Hong Kong in defence of the Ordinance of
1857,--at least as to the motive expressed by Mr. Labouchere for
consenting to the passing of the Ordinance: "These humane intentions
of Mr. Labouchere have been frustrated by various causes, among which
must be included that the police have from the first been allowed to
look upon this branch of their work as beneath their dignity,
while the sanitary regulation of the brothels appears from recent
correspondence to have been almost entirely disregarded." To this
Governor Hennessy replied: "On the general question of the Government
system of licensing brothels, your Lordship seems to think that I have
not sufficiently recognized that the establishment of the system was
a police measure, intended to give the Hong Kong Government some hold
upon the brothels, in hope of improving the condition of the inmates,
and of checking the odious species of slavery to which they are
subjected. I can, however, assure your Lordship, whatever good
intentions may have been entertained and expressed by Her Majesty's
Government when the licensing system was established, that it has been
worked for a different purpose." ... "The real purpose of the brothel
legislation here has been, in the odious words so often used, the
provision of clean Chinese women for the use of the British soldiers
and sailors of the Royal Navy in this Colony."

The real object of the Ordinance, commended by the Secretary of State
as answering to "an urgent claim" on the part of slaves "upon the
active protection of the Government," the operation of which was
placed in the hands of the so-called Protector of Chinese, was plainly
described in the preamble of the Ordinance as making "provisions for
checking the spread of venereal diseases within this Colony." No other
object was stated.

The intention of the Government was that the Ordinance should be
worked by the aid of the whole police force; but as early as 1860 we
find the Protector, or Registrar General, D.R. Caldwell, reporting
to the Colonial Secretary that "upon the first promulgation of the
Ordinance, the Superintendent of Police manifested an indisposition
to interfere in the working of the Ordinance, from a belief that it
opened a door to corruption to the members of the force under him."
Later, Mr. May, the superintendent of police alluded to, said before
the Commission of Inquiry: "That he would not have permitted the
police to have anything to do with the control or supervision of
brothels under the Ordinance, being apart from the general objects
of police duties, and from the great probability of its leading to
corruption." Let this be told to Mr. May's lasting credit. Whereupon,
on the Registrar General's application, the office of Inspector of
Brothels was created.

We have referred several times to a certain Commission which was
appointed to inquire into the working of the Contagious Diseases
Ordinances of Hong Kong. This Commission was appointed by Governor
Hennessy on November 12th, 1877, and was composed of William Keswick,
unofficial member of the Legislative Council, Thomas Child Hallyer,
Esq., "one of Her Majesty's Counsel for the Colony," and Ernest John
Eitel, M.A., Ph.D., Chinese Interpreter to the Governor. We shall have
frequent cause to quote from this Commission's report, and as it is
the only Commission we shall quote, we shall henceforth speak of it
merely as "the Commission." This report says, concerning inspectors of
brothels: "These posts, although fairly lucrative, do not seem to be
coveted by men of very high class." For instance, we find in a report
dated December 11, 1873, by the captain superintendent of police, Mr.
Dean, and the acting Registrar General, Mr. Tonnochy, that they were
not prepared to recommend anyone for an appointment to a vacancy which
had just occurred, owing to the reluctance of the police inspectors to
accept "the office of Inspector of Brothels." Mr. Creagh says, that
the post is not one "which any of our inspectors would take. They look
down on the post." "They are a class very inferior to those who
would be inspectors with us. I don't believe anyone wishes it, but
constables, or perhaps sergeants, would take the post for the pay."
Mr. Dean would also "object to its being made a part of the duty of
the general police to enforce the Contagious Diseases Acts." "My
inspectors and sergeants," he says, "would so strongly object to
taking the office that I should be unable to get anyone on whom I
could rely.... The Inspector of Police looks down on the Inspector of
Brothels." Dr. Ayres tells us: "You cannot get men fitted for the work
at present salaries, and you have to put tremendous powers into the
hands of men like those we have."

Yet into the hands of men lower in character than the lowest of the
police force was committed, in large part, the operation of Ordinance
12, 1857, recommended by Mr. Labouchere as a sort of benevolent scheme
for the defense of poor Chinese slaves under the British flag, who had
"an urgent claim on the protection of Government."



Dr. Bridges, the Acting Attorney General at Hong Kong, who had framed
the Contagious Diseases Ordinance of 1857, had given an assurance
concerning it expressed in the following words: "There will be less
difficulty in dealing with prostitution in this Colony than with the
same in any other part of the world, as I believe the prostitutes here
to be almost, without exception, Chinese who would be thankful to
be placed under medical control of any kind; that few if any of the
prostitutes are free agents, having been brought up for the purposes
of prostitution by the keepers of brothels, and that whether as
regards the unfortunate creatures themselves, the persons who obtain
a living by these prostitutes, or the Chinese inhabitants in general,
there are fewer rights to be interfered with here, less grounds for
complaint by the parties controlled, and fewer prejudices on the
subject to be shocked among the more respectable part of the community
than could be found elsewhere." Mr. D.R. Caldwell, Protector,
confirmed these views. But the views of the Chinese themselves had
never been elicited, and immediately such prejudice was aroused among
them that it was considered wise to subject only those houses resorted
to by foreigners and their inmates, to medical surveillance. Says the
report of the Commission: "So great has been the detestation of the
Chinese of the system of personal examination, that it has been
found practically impossible to apply it to purely Chinese houses of
ill-fame [that is, places resorted to by Chinese only], to the present
day." At once, then, the business of the Ordinance, as far as disease
was concerned, became restricted to a fancied "protection" of foreign
men given over to the practice of vice. But, as we show elsewhere
on the statements of the officials who operated the Ordinance (made
confidentially, but not intended for publication), that object was not
realized, and in the very nature of things, never will be, by such
measures. When the State guarantees the service of "clean women" to
men of vicious habits, it actively encourages those vicious habits;
and since these diseases are the direct outcome of such vice, the
more the vice itself is encouraged the more the diseases resulting
therefrom will increase in frequency.

The treachery and perfidy of the profession that this Ordinance was
in large measure one intended to "protect" poor slaves, is clearly
exposed in this letter of Dr. Bridges. "There will be less difficulty"
in operating the measure because the women are not "free agents!" The
very success of the measure, their own language betrays, depended
upon their servitude. Then were they likely to strike a blow at that
slavery? Their measure would, then, of course, lead to an increase and
not to a mitigation of the hardships of servitude. They had "fewer
rights to be interfered with" in Hong Kong "than could he found
elsewhere." Away with a measure of "protection" which finds its chief
source of gratulation in the curtailed rights of the "protected!"

The much-vaunted "protection" of the slaves, through medical
surveillance, became limited at once to a certain class who associated
with foreigners, whose interests were supposed to be "protected" by
that surveillance. Nevertheless from that time almost to the present
hour whenever it has been proposed to discontinue the compulsory
medical examination, officials have raised a cry of pity for the poor
slave-girls who would be left without "protection."

Since each registered house was to pay a fee to the Colonial
Government, which was turned into the fund to meet general expenses
(although the express reading of the Ordinance was against this
practice), this gave additional reason for registering all immoral
houses, beyond their being listed for the compulsory examinations,
hence all houses of prostitution were registered whether for
foreigners or for Chinese.

The Commission's report says: "This Ordinance seems to have been
worked with energy by all concerned. Dr. Murray, who assumed charge of
the Lock Hospital on the 1st of May, 1857,... discharged his duty with
undoubted zeal. The Magistrates certainly threw no obstruction in the
way of the working of the Ordinance; and the Government having, at a
very early stage, determined that its efficacy 'should have a fair
trial,' it doubtless received it at all hands."

During the ten years this law was in operation, there were 411
prosecutions, of which 140 were convictions for keeping unregistered
houses, or houses outside the prescribed bounds. Fines were inflicted
for these offenses and others, adding considerably to the amount
collected regularly each month from each registered house. The
Superintendent of Police, having refused to allow his force to operate
as inspectors of brothels, in 1860 the first inspector was appointed,
and he engaged an English policeman named Barnes to render services as
an informer. This man brought charges in two cases, as to unlicensed
(unregistered) brothels. The second case ended in acquittal,
manifestly on the ground that the charges were trumped up. In the same
year another inspector, Williams, acted as informer, and secured a
conviction against a woman. Later, an inspector by the name of Peam,
who succeeded Williams, employed police constables as informers, and
lent them money for the purpose. All these performed their tasks in
"plain clothes," as was the practice through subsequent years. In
1861, constables (Europeans) acted frequently as informers, and in
one instance the Acting Registrar General,--in other words, the
"Protector,"--played the role of informer. He took a European
constable with him to a native house and caused him to commit adultery
there, and on this evidence prosecuted the woman for keeping an
unregistered brothel. During this year, an inspector named Johnson
presented a woman with a counterfeit dollar, and because she accepted
the money she was condemned as a keeper of an unregistered house, and
fined twenty-five dollars. This sum she would be less able to pay than
the average American woman ten times as much, so low are wages in that

In 1862, an inspector of brothels, a policeman, and the Bailiff of
the Supreme Court, acted as informers; also in eleven cases European
constables in plain clothes, and on two occasions a master of a ship.
In 1863 the sworn belief alone of the inspector secured convictions in
10 cases. In 1864, as far as the records show, public money was first
used by informers to induce women to commit adultery with them, in
order to secure their conviction, fine them, and enroll their abodes
as registered brothels. Inspector Jones and Police Sergeant Daly,
having spent ten dollars in self-indulgence in native houses, the
Government reimbursed them and punished the women.

In 1865, on three separate occasions, the "Protector," (Acting
Registrar General Deane), "declared" houses, nine in number. Soon any
sort of testimony was gladly welcomed, and Malays, East Indians and
Chinese all turned informers, and money was not only given them with
which to open the way for debauchery, but awards upon conviction of
the women with whom they consorted. "The Chinese used for this work
were chiefly Lokongs, [native police constables], Inspector Peterson's
servant and a cook at No. 8 Police Station. The depositions show
that in at least five cases the police and their informers received
rewards. Three times their exertions were remunerated by sums of
twenty dollars, although in one of these instances the evidence was
apparently volunteered. Arch and Collins [Europeans] once got five
dollars each, and Chinese constables received similar amounts." In
many of these cases the immorality on the part of the informers who
brought the charges seems to have been unblushingly stated. "The
zeal of inspectors of brothels and informers had been stimulated by
occasional solid rewards from the Bench, and the numerous prosecutions
commenced seldom failed to end in conviction and substantial

Ten years after the Ordinance of 1857 had been in operation, the
Registrar General, C.C. Smith, wrote:

    "There is another matter connected with the brothels, licensed
    and unlicensed, in Hong Kong, which almost daily assumes a graver
    aspect. I refer to what is no less than the trafficking in human
    flesh between the brothel-keepers and the vagabonds of the Colony.
    Women are bought and sold in nearly every brothel in the place.
    They are induced by specious pretexts to come to Hong Kong, and
    then, after they are admitted into the brothels, such a system of
    espionage is kept over them, and so frightened do they get, as to
    prevent any application to the police. They have no relatives, no
    friends to assist them, and their life is such that, unless goaded
    into unusual excitement by a long course of ill-treatment, they
    sink down under the style of life they are forced to adopt, and
    submit patiently to their masters. But cases have occurred where
    they have run away, and placed themselves in the hands of the
    police; who, however, can do nothing whatever toward punishing the
    offenders for the lack of evidence, the women being afraid to
    tell their tale in open court. Women have, it is true, willingly
    allowed themselves to be sold for some temporary gain; but that
    brothel-keepers should be allowed to enter into such transactions
    is of serious moment. I have myself tried to fix such a case on
    more than one brothel-keeper, but failed to do so, though there
    was no doubt of the transaction, as I held the bill of sale. The
    only mode of action I had under the circumstances was to cancel
    the license of the house. In the interest of humanity, too, it
    might be enacted that any brothel-keeper should be liable to a
    fine for having on his or her premises any child under 15 years of

This statement as to the increase of slavery under this Ordinance is
just what might have been expected, but it is especially valuable as
made by the Registrar General who knew most about the matter, and it
contains most damaging admissions against himself, for as the Colonial
Secretary, W.T. Mercer, states in a foot-note in the State document
printing the Registrar General's statement: "Surely the bill of sale
here would have been sufficient evidence." It is plainly to be seen
from such statements that after a few efforts to take advantage of
anti-slavery laws at Hong Kong, after a few appeals to the police for
protection and liberty, slave girls would learn by terrible experience
to cease all such efforts. Think of the fate of a girl when thrust
back into the hands of her cruel master or mistress, by the heartless
indifference of the "Protector," after having ventured to go to the
length of producing her bill of sale into slavery. We should remember
these things, when we hear of American officials going through
Chinatown and asking the girls if they wish to come away, and in case
they do not at once declare they wish it, reporting that there are no
slave girls in Chinatown. These poor creatures have been trained in a
hard school, and have no reason to believe that any foreign officials
have the least interest in helping to obtain their liberty. And if
they cannot secure protection by complaint, far better never admit
that there is reason for complaint.

Note the calm admission of the Registrar General that nothing was
being done to prevent the rearing of children in these registered
brothels, where every detail was subject to Government surveillance.
"It might be enacted," says the "Protector," that such a
brothel-keeper should be "liable to a fine!" But why, in the face of
such frank acknowledgement of the existence of slavery, were not the
Queen's proclamation against slavery, and the many other enactments of
the same sort, enforced? Listen, and we will tell why. These officials
believed _vice was necessary_, and as there was no class of "fallen
women," in our understanding of the term, the Oriental prostitute
being a literal slave, then _slavery was necessary_ when it ministered
to the vices of men. Hence the Government-registered brothels were
filled with women slaves. As to the unregistered brothels, the
"protected woman" protected that, and also the nursery of purchased
and stolen children being brought up and trained for the slave market,
excepting those children which, as we have seen, were being trained in
the registered houses. If an officer attempted to enter the house of
a "protected woman," he was told: "This is not a brothel. This is the
private family residence of Mr. So and So," mentioning the name of
some foreigner. Thus the foreigners who kept Chinese mistresses
furnished, in effect, that protection to slavery that led the Chinese
to go forward so boldly in their business of buying and kidnaping
children. Even when women were brought into court for keeping
unregistered brothels, and although they were keeping them, yet if
they could show that they were "protected women," they had a fair show
of being acquitted.

Legislative enactments directed to the object of making the practice
of vice healthy for men are called, in popular language, "Contagious
Diseases Acts," because that was the first name given them. But of
late years all such laws have met with such bitter opposition, that,
like an old criminal, the measures seek to hide themselves under all
sorts of _aliases_. Mrs. Josephine Butler describes such legislation
in general in the following simple, lucid manner:

    "By this law, policemen,--not the local police, but special
    Government police, in plain clothes,--are employed to look after
    all the poor women and girls in a town and its neighborhood. These
    police spies have power to take up any woman they please, on
    _suspicion_ that she is not a moral woman, and to register her
    name on a shameful register as a prostitute. She is then forced to
    submit to the horrible ordeal of a personal examination of a kind
    which cannot be described here. It is an act on the part of the
    Government doctor such as would be called an indecent or criminal
    assault if any other man were to force it upon a woman. And it is
    the _State_ which forces this indecent assault on the persons of
    the helpless daughters of the poor.

    "If a woman refuses to submit to it, she is punished by
    imprisonment, with or without hard labor, _until_ she does submit.

    "If, after she has endured this torture, she is found to be healthy
    and well, she is set free, with a certificate that she is _fit
    to practice prostitution_; but observe, she is never more a free
    woman, for her name is on the register of Government prostitutes,
    and she is strictly under the eye of the police, and is bound to
    come up periodically,--it may be weekly or fortnightly,--to be
    again outraged.

    "If she is found to have signs of disease, she is sent to a
    hospital, which is practically a prison, where she is kept as
    long as the doctors please. She may be kept for weeks or months,
    without any choice of her own. When cured, she is again set free
    with her certificate. During the first years of this law, a
    certificate on paper was given to every woman who had passed
    through this cruel ordeal; on this paper was the name of the
    woman, and the date of the last examination. The Abolitionist
    party, however, represented so strongly the shame of the whole
    proceeding, that the Government ordered that the piece of paper
    or ticket should not be given to the women any longer. But this
    change made no real difference, for it was well known that
    the women were forced to submit to the outrage of enforced
    examination.... You know that every criminal,--murderer, or thief,
    or any other,--has the benefit of the law; he or she is allowed an
    open trial, at which witnesses are called, and a legal advocate
    appears for the defense of the accused. But these State slaves
    are allowed no trial. It is enough that the police suspects and
    accuses them; then they are treated as criminals.... It will be
    clear to you that this law is not for simple healing, as Christ
    would have us to heal, caring for all, whatever their character
    or whatever their disease. This law is invented to _provide
    beforehand_ that men may be able to sin without bodily injury (if
    that were possible, which it is not). If a burglar, who had broken
    into my house and stolen my goods, were to fall and be hurt, I
    would be glad to get him into a hospital and have him nursed and
    cured; but I would not put a ladder up against my window at night
    and leave the windows open in order that he might steal my goods
    without danger of breaking his neck.

    "You will see clearly, also, the cowardliness and unmanliness of
    this law, inasmuch as it sacrifices women to men, the weak to the
    strong; that it deprives the woman of all that she has in life, of
    liberty, character, law, even of life itself (for it is a process
    of slow murder to which she is subjected), for the supposed
    benefit of men who are mean enough to avail themselves of this
    provision of lust.

    "Besides being grossly unjust, as between men and women, this law
    is a piece of class legislation of an extreme kind. The position
    and wealth of men of the upper classes place the women belonging
    to them above any chance of being accused of prostitution. Ladies
    who ride in carriages through the street at night are in no danger
    of being molested. But what about working women? what about the
    daughters, sisters and wives of working men, out, it may be, on
    an errand of mercy at night? and what, most of all, of that girl
    whose father, mother, friends are dead or far away, who is
    struggling hard, in a hard world, to live uprightly and justly
    by the work of her own hands,--is she in no danger of this law?
    Lonely and friendless, and poor, is she in no danger of a false
    accusation from malice or from error? especially since under this
    law _homeless_ girls are particularly marked out as just subjects
    for its operation; and if she is accused, what has she to rely on,
    under God, except that of which this law deprives her, the appeal
    to be tried 'by God and my country,' by which it is understood
    that she claims the judicial means of defense to which the law of
    the land entitles her?

    "I will only add that this law has a fatally corrupting influence
    over the male youth of every country where it is in force. It
    warps the conscience, and confuses the sense of right and wrong.
    When the State raises this immoral traffic into the position of a
    lawful industry, superintended by Government officials, what are
    the young and ignorant to think? They cannot believe that that
    which the Government of the country allows, and makes rules for,
    and superintends, is really wrong."

Such measures as these have acquired a foothold in the United States
more than once, but have been driven out again. They are proposed
every year almost, at some State Legislature, and often have been
proposed at several different legislatures during a single year. They
are in operation, to some extent at least, under the United States
flag at Hawaii, in the Philippines, and at Porto Rico. The enforcement
of the Acts must depend to a large extent upon the co-operation of the
male fornicator with the police and officers of the law, and places
good women and girls terribly in the power of malicious or designing

It appears from official records, that in Hong Kong, during six months
in 1886-7, out of 139 women denounced by British soldiers and sailors
as having communicated contagion, 102 were on examination found free
from disease, and only 37 to be diseased; and during a similar
period in 1887-8, out of 103 women that were denounced, 101 were on
examination found free from disease and only two diseased. We can
judge from this of both the worthlessness of the measure for tracing
diseased women, and the mischievousness of the measure as an aid to
libertines in getting girls they are endeavoring to seduce so injured
in reputation that they can easily capture their prey.

As a sanitary measure, the Acts have invariably proved a failure, as
shown by honestly handled statistics. There have, to be sure, been
many doctors, some of high scientific qualifications, who have
produced statistics strongly tending to prove the sanitary benefits
of such measures on superficial survey. But these statistics have
afterwards been shown to be mistakenly handled or designedly
manipulated to make such a showing. This is not a medical book, and
any extended treatment of figures as to disease would be entirely out
of place in it, so we will content ourselves by saying that during
late years physicians of prominence from every part of the world have
assembled twice at Brussels for Conferences in regard to this matter.
These physicians are in large numbers Continental doctors, the very
ones who have had most to do in enforcing such measures. Each time
the number of opponents to the Contagious Diseases Acts has rapidly
increased, after listening to the testimony from all sides as to
their inutility; in fact, the whole force of opinion at each of these
Conferences, in 1899 and 1902, was against State Regulation, though
there was a division of opinion as to the substitute for it.

In 1903, the Minister of the Interior of France, the country where
these Acts originated, nominated an extra-Parliamentary Commission to
go thoroughly into these questions. This Commission held its numerous
sittings in 1905, and in the end by almost a two-thirds' majority
condemned the existing system of regulation in France, and furthermore
rejected the alternative proposal of notification with compulsory
treatment, by sixteen votes to one. In reporting on the Conferences
held in Brussels, the _Independence Belge_ said, in a leading article:
"Regulation is visibly decaying, and the fact is the more striking
because the country that instituted it (France) is at present the one
that meets it with the most ardent hostility."



In 1866 the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Richard Graves MacDonnell,
determined upon the repeal of Ordinance 12, 1857, in order to
inaugurate "a more vigorous policy of coercion," (says the
Commission's report): "The key note of the new regime was struck by
the Governor's first minute on the subject, dated 20th October, 1866,
in which he wrote he was 'anxious early to introduce to the Council an
amended Brothel Ordinance, conferring _necessarily_ almost despotic
powers on the Registrar General." ... Be it said to the honor of
Attorney General (now Sir Julian) Pauncefote, that in the face of this
he urges the most weighty objections to the policy of "subjecting
persons to fine and imprisonment without the safeguards which surround
the administration of justice in a public and open court." But these
objections were not allowed to prevail.

It appears that some hesitation was felt on the part of the home
authorities in giving approval to the new ordinance. It may have been
the warning given by Attorney General Pauncefote, it may have been
something else. Whatever it was, the Commission informs us: "The
Ordinance 10 of 1867 received its final sanction when the conclusion
arrived at by the Colonial Government was before the home authorities,
showing that in the event of the ordinance becoming law, _revenue
would be derived_ from the tainted source of prostitution among the
Chinese." (The italics are the authors').

Ordinance 10, 1867 now came into operation, with the following
additional powers in the hands of the "Protector" of Chinese, the
Registrar General:

    1st, Not only were keepers of unregistered houses to be fined or
    sent to prison, but the women--"held in practical slavery for the
    purposes of prostitution"--when found in unregistered houses were
    also subject to fine and imprisonment.

    2nd, The Registrar-General, otherwise the "Protector" of Chinese,
    could break into any house suspected of being a brothel, and
    arrest the keeper thereof without warrant. And he could authorize
    his underlings to do the same.

    3rd, The Registrar General could exercise both judicial and
    executive powers in the prosecution of the duties of his office.

    4th, All outdoor prostitutes could be arrested without warrant,
    fined and imprisoned.

    The new law possessed one virtue over the old. It frankly, and
    more honestly, employed the word "licensed," where the old law
    said "registered," brothels.

The report of the Commission says:

    "Although the new Ordinance conferred such extensive and unusual
    powers on the Registrar General and Superintendent of Police as to
    breaking into and entering houses and arresting keepers without
    warrant, no serious difficulty whatever, so far as the records
    show,--and we have paid special attention to the point,--seems to
    have been experienced under the previous enactments in bringing
    the keepers of such houses before the court.... Nor can we in
    the second place find among the foregoing records proof of the
    necessity of the transfer to the Registrar General of the judicial
    powers.... As a matter of fact, witnesses do not seem to have been
    at all squeamish in divulging repulsive details in open Court,
    nor, on the other hand, do the magistrates ever seem to have shown
    too exacting a disposition as to the nature or amount of the
    evidence they required to sustain convictions; and the astonishing
    system of detection which had grown up had met, so far as we can
    see, with neither discouragement nor remonstrance."

We pause to lift our hearts to God in prayer before venturing to lift
the curtain and disclose even a faint outline of the reign of terror
now instituted over poor, horror-stricken Chinese women of the humbler
ranks of life at Hong Kong. But, in order that we may understand the
conditions under which the slave women coming to our Pacific Coast
have lived in times past, the recital is necessary. Happy for us if we
never needed to know any of these dark chapters of human history and
human wrongs! Sad indeed for the thoughtless, and bringing only harm,
if such an account as we have to give should be read merely out of
curiosity or for entertainment. There is either ennoblement or injury
in what we have to say, according to the spirit brought to the task
of reading it. Think quietly, then, dear reader, for one moment. From
what motive will you read our recital? We do not write what is lawful
to the merely inquisitive. Then, will you continue to read from a
worthier motive? If not, we pray you, close the book, and pass it on
to someone more serious minded. Our message is only for those who will
hear with the desire to help. But do not say: "I am too ignorant as to
what to do, I am too weak, or I am too lowly, and without talents or
influence." No, you are not. There is a place for you to help. God
will show it to you, if this book does not suggest a practicable plan
for you. What we wish to accomplish, and what we must accomplish, if
at all, by just such aid as you can give, sums itself up in this: We
must make our officers of the law understand that _the question of
slavery has been settled once for all_ in the United States, by
the Civil War, and we will have none of it again. It will never be
tolerated under the Stars and Stripes; and when you can think of
nothing else to do, you can always go aside and cry to the Judge of
all the earth to "execute righteousness and judgment for all that are
oppressed," as He has promised to do, if we but call upon Him.

Now read on with a heart full of courage, not caring for the haunting
pain that will be left when you lay the book aside. What others have
had to suffer, you can at least endure to hear about, in order to put
a check upon like suffering in the future, and in our own land, too.
A country bathed in blood as ours has once been has met already its
terrible judgment for not throttling the monster, Slavery, in its
infancy, before it cost so much blood and treasure. We will be wiser
another time, and refuse to trifle with such great wrongs. We cannot
brave the Omnipotent wrath in a second judgment for the same offense,
lest He say to us: "Ye have not hearkened unto Me, in proclaiming
liberty, everyone to his brother, and every man to his neighbor;
behold, I proclaim a liberty unto you, saith the Lord, to the sword
and to the pestilence and to the famine."

From the first days of the enactment of this measure, and all the way
through until 1877, the inspectors of brothels had standing orders to
enter any native house that they suspected of containing any women
of loose character, and arrest its inmates in accordance with the
following plan: The inspector would secure an accomplice, called an
informer, or often more than one. The accomplice would enter a native
house plentifully supplied with marked money out of the Secret Service
Fund. This accomplice was often a friend or relative of the family he
called upon. He would often offer them a feast and drinks, and send
to a near-by restaurant and procure them at Government expense. After
feasting and drinking, he would try to induce some woman of the house
to consort with him, showing her a sufficient sum of money to fairly
dazzle her eyes. This he could well afford to do, for the Government
put the money in his hands to offer, and if the woman accepted, it
would not be a loss to the Government, for it would be taken back
again afterwards. Perhaps some poor half-starved creature would yield
to the tempter; perhaps some heathen man would press his wife to
accept the offer, in his greed for the money; perhaps some foolish
young girl would think she had suddenly come into great fortune in
having a man of such great wealth proposing marriage to her. It must
not be forgotten that the poorest people in China often marry in
a manner which is _almost devoid of all ceremony_, and yet it is
considered perfectly right and honorable, and the couple remain
faithful to each other afterwards. It is not unlikely, then, a young
woman might, with the consent of her parents, look upon such a
proposal as this as about to eventuate in real marriage, if it were so
put before her. No such thing as courting ever takes place in China,
previous to marriage. In other cases, doubtless, the informer who had
thus intruded himself for the basest reasons into a native house,
might really find a woman of loose character there. It were certainly
more to the credit of such a woman that she was in hiding, and
preferred it to flaunting her shame in a licensed house of infamy.
What business have Governments hounding down these women, tearing away
their last shred of decency and obliging them if inclining to go wrong
to sink at once to the lowest depths of infamy? But that is what the
attempt to localize vice in one section of a town, or to legalize it
always means. When the informer at Hong Kong had insinuated himself
into a native house and by means of the bait of "marked money" caught
a victim and sinned with her, at once he threw open the window and
summoned the Inspector, who was in waiting outside, who would rush
in and arrest all the women and girls in the house, down to children
often only 13 or 14 years old. This was not all according to law, but
it seems to have been the regular practice. Says Mr. Lister, who was
Registrar General for the first year after the Ordinance of 1867 came
into operation: "As a general rule, the first thing I knew of a case
of an unlicensed brothel coming before me was the finding of a string
of women in my office in the morning." "Almost despotic powers" had
been put into the hands of the "Registrar General," and these were
some of the results. The "marked money" that had caught the victim
would now be sanctimoniously taken away from her and restored to the
Secret Service Fund. The woman would be fined or imprisoned, and the
other inmates of the house put through trial as accused of being
"common prostitutes" and inmates of an unlicensed brothel, and if the
Registrar General so decided, the house from which they came declared
in the Government Gazette as a licensed house of prostitution. The
keepers of licensed brothels, slave-dealers, procurers and such
characters hung around the court room to help these women pay their
fines, and so get them under bonds to work off these fines by
prostitution. Sometimes the women sold their children instead of
themselves. If boys, for "adoption," as it is called; a form of
slavery which is permitted in Hong Kong. If girls, into domestic
slavery or worse, probably with the thought that they could buy them
back soon, but if the mother herself went the daughter would be sure
to be caught by kidnapers, or fall into prostitution anyway, as the
only means she would have of getting along without her mother's
protection. Mr. Lister said before the Commission: "I became
suspicious of the whole system of convictions against houses for
Chinese. I was certain that the informers could not be depended on
for one moment. My inspector employed his own boatmen as informers.
I became convinced that _I could lock up the whole Chinese female
population by this machinery_." Married men were often knowingly hired
on Government money to commit adultery with native women, then the
money would be taken away from the woman and she could not even have
that toward her fine, while the man would be given a further reward
for hunting down an "unlicensed woman." Quickly, strong organizations
of brothel-keepers were formed, and the whole infernal system from
that day to this of brothel slavery passed under the secret management
of "capitalists"--Chinese merchants of large means.

We have made a general statement as to abuses; now for some specified
details. Sometimes the inspectors took their turn as informers, and
often men of higher official rank did so, even to the Registrar
General himself. In 1868, Inspectors Peterson and Jamieson visited
houses as informers, dressed in plain clothes. Jamieson went once
disguised as a soldier. Inspectors Burns, Sieir and Deane were also
employed as informers, this year. In one case, a woman escaped the
persecution of an informer who had intruded into her house by means of
ladder; in another case, a woman risked her life getting out of the
window upon a flimsy shade adjusted to keep the sun out; in another,
a woman managed to escape to the roof; one poor creature let herself
down to the ground from an upper window by means of a spout. When
women were ready to take such risks as these (and undoubtedly the
official records would mention only a few such cases out of the many)
rather than be compelled to keep open houses of prostitution, one
would have thought it would have counted as some proof of the
respectable character of the women,--but it does not seem to have been
reckoned so. The women were generally driven into the business of
keeping an open house of prostitution anyway, and the Government
benefited in cash by just so much more.

"It may be mentioned here," says the report of the Commission, from
which we cull these cases, "that from this date (July 6th, 1868) the
practice has apparently prevailed of apprehending all the women found
in unlicensed brothels" (in more correct language, those houses
penetrated into by informers and reported to the Registrar as
brothels). These accusations were not always true, by any means. Seven
women were apprehended at one time during this year, on the charge of
a watchman, that they kept and were inmates of an unlicensed brothel,
"the chief witness being a child 10 years old ... five of the women
were married, and two, children of 13 and 14 years old, are described
as unmarried." They were all, even the children, convicted, and
sent to the Lock Hospital for the indecent examination, in order to
determine if they were in proper health to practice vice. Afterwards
the Registrar concluded that the case had been got up by the watchman
to extort money from the women. But the establishment of their
innocence did not put them right again. Think of the horrible ordeal
and the dirty court details through which these young girls had been
put, on the testimony of a child of ten, and of a watchman determined
that they should learn to give him money when he demanded it, or he
would drive them into prostitution. One wonders how many hundreds of
respectable families were thus bled of their small incomes by the vile
informers who were being rewarded by Government for their extortion.
Imagine the terror that respectable Chinese women suffered, knowing
that any man might denounce them, out of malice, and thereby reduce
them to the very worst conceivable form of slavery! Within a few
years, nearly all the respectable Chinese women had disappeared from
Hong Kong. Chief Inspector Whitehead testified before the Commission:
"When an unlicensed brothel [i.e., a native house accused of being
such] is broken up, the women have to resort to prostitution in most
cases for a living." During 1869, one poor woman signed a bond to
deport herself for five years rather than be taken to the Lock
Hospital. But the "protected women," with their nursery of children
they were raising for brothel slavery, being the mistresses of
foreigners, were not persecuted in this manner, so, by a kind of mad
infatuation the Government seemed bent on encouraging and developing
immoral women and driving decent women either into prostitution, or,
by the reign of terror, out of the Colony. In 1869, five women
were charged before the Registrar General, and three of them were
discharged as innocent. Then the Registrar General decided _to make
the punishment of the first of the remaining two depend upon the state
of health of the second_. This second was examined and found diseased,
and in consequence of that fact, the first one was fined fifty dollars
or two months' imprisonment! The Commission speaks of this as a
"somewhat curious" case. We wonder how the punished woman described
it. Afterwards, the case was reopened, and "evidence was given
calculated to throw the gravest doubts on the credibility of the
informers" against these five women. What was then done? Were the
informers punished for giving false evidence designed to work
incalculable injury to five innocent women? Not at all. A few days
later the same informers were employed again as witnesses, and secured
the conviction of three more women. In one case, in 1870, it was
proved that an informer had entered a house and made an indecent
assault upon a woman, doubtless expecting to get his reward as usual.
But he was fined ten pounds instead. But how many others may have
done the same thing under circumstances where a sufficient number of
witnesses to the assault could not be produced. And then, the man
would be rewarded and the woman forced at once to take up her
residence in a licensed house of shame. The Acting Registrar General
played the part of informer during 1870, and punished as judge the
woman he accused before himself,--for the law, as we have said, that
came into force in 1867 gave the Registrar General both prosecuting
and judicial powers. He probably also induced the woman on Government
money to commit adultery with him. Then as the judge he would
confiscate the money again, and give her a fine of fifty dollars
instead. We wonder if he likewise gave himself a "substantial award
from the bench," as the Registrar General was accustomed to give other
informers when they succeeded in getting evidence sufficient for
conviction. It is noticed by the Commission that one woman this same
year escaped by the roof at the peril of her life. No one knows how
many more may have done the same.

An inspector, Peterson, and a constable, Rylands, each induced women
on the street to accept money of them, and these women were punished
as prostitutes in hiding and not registered. Two prosecutions during
this same year are mentioned as having been instituted from malice.
One woman jumped from her window and severely injured herself, trying
to escape Inspector Douglass. One woman dared to assault an informer
who was after her, and was punished by ten days' imprisonment, with
hard labor. Inspector Jamieson brought charges against three women
for obstructing him in the discharge of his official duties, and was
himself found guilty of illegal conduct.

In the records of 1871 is the case of two men who had a falling out,
Alfred Flarey and Police Constable Charles Christy, for some reason
not mentioned. Each of these men kept a private mistress. Flarey
went to an inspector, and obtained money to be used in tempting the
mistress of Christy. He then accused her before the courts, she was
condemned, and paid a fine of ten dollars. On the following day,
Christy appeared in court against the mistress of Flarey, with two
fellow-policemen, to describe their own vileness in order to get
revenge on Flarey by depriving him of his mistress and reducing her to
the level of a common prostitute. The woman was discharged, indicating
that it was a trumped up case. The Commission's report, in describing
the details declares: "The law, in these two instances, was put in
motion obviously for the vilest of purposes."

In 1872, Inspector Lee, who had become an inspector in 1870, and
of whom we shall have more to say, acted himself as informer, and
employed his boy twice in the same capacity. Inspector Horton acted as
informer eleven times, and Inspector King four times. During this year
the Registrar General so far forgot that there was even a sanitary
pretext for the Ordinance for the law he was set to operate as
to employ as an informer one Vincent Greaves, whom he knew to be
diseased. From about this time on, many cases of conviction were
secured against women where it was evident the matter had gone no
further than that they had accepted the marked money of the informers,
or, as was actually proved in some cases, this marked Government money
had been secreted by the informers in the rooms occupied by women.
Inspector Lee in one instance found the money on a table in a room
into which an informer had insinuated himself. The woman denied having
ever accepted it of him, yet she was convicted on that evidence alone.
With rewards offered to men of the lowest character, who would secure
the conviction of women so that the latter could be forced into the
life of open prostitution, all the presumptive evidence should have
turned such a case as this against the informer. Many similar cases
of the conviction of women of being keepers and inmates of secret
brothels, were secured on this sort of evidence. One young girl of 14
was entrapped by marked money being found in her toilet table. The
court records showed that this was the second time she had been
entrapped in this manner. This second time she was convicted and sent
to the Lock Hospital where, upon examination, exceptional conditions
demonstrated beyond doubt that she was still a virgin. But what of the
many young girls with whom exceptional conditions did not exist, when
_they_ were brought to the examination table?

During the year 1873, two women were severely injured by jumping out
of their windows to escape the informers. One fractured her leg.

The cook of Inspector King testified in the Registrar General's court:
"Yesterday I received orders of Mr. King to go to Wanchai, and see if
I could catch some unlicensed prostitutes." This man was employed,
and his employer orders him off to this wicked business, and he must
either obey or take his discharge. A Chinese servant ordered to go
commit adultery by the man who employed him as his cook. These things
were constantly done by employers of Chinese men. Yet these native
servants are all married men, for they marry so young in the Orient.
And Government money was furnished them besides to pay for the
debauchery, and if they brought in a good case for prosecution they
got a reward in money besides. So this cook is ordered off by his
master to "catch some unlicensed prostitutes," with the same _sang
froid_ as though ordered to go catch some fish for dinner. The cook
seemed to know where to get the most ardent assistance for the task
his employer had set him, for he says: "I got the assistance of a man
who is master of a licensed brothel in Wanchai." To be sure; who would
be so interested in capturing women and getting them condemned to go
and live in a house licensed by the Government as the man in the town
at the head of the licensed house? The cook was given a dollar as
bait, with which to catch the woman. Inspector Lee, who followed up
the men to make sure of the capture, found the dollar given by King
to his cook "lying on the bed" in the room occupied by the women,
and they were convicted on no other evidence than this and Lee's

Private Michael Smith of the 80th Regiment was given four dollars by
Inspector Morton and instructed to go to a certain Mrs. Wright at
her quarters, and try to debauch her; he drank brandy with her [at
Government expense?] from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m., but failed in his
errand. Why did she not turn him out of the house? Women were
frequently fined for daring to resent the aggressions of these
informers. In one case a man was struck for trying to obstruct the
arrest of a girl of 14, and later was punished. This girl was proved
to be a virgin afterwards. Many women and girls, against whom there
was no sufficient evidence, were sent to the Lock Hospital for
examination in order to determine in that manner their character. In
half-a-dozen cases or so, it is recorded that the result determined
the virginity of the person. But such a test as this rests upon the
accidental presence of an exceptional condition among even virgins,
and what became of those who did not answer to the exceptional test,
and yet were as pure as the rest? They would everyone of them be
consigned to the fate of a brothel slave.

One informer, "with the assistance of public money, and in the
interests of justice," according to the Commission's report, sinned
with a child of fifteen in order to get her name on the register.
Inspector Horton bargained for the deflowering of a virgin of 15, "in
the interests of justice," with the owner of the slave child. The
child as well as the owner were then taken to the Lock Hospital, where
the latter was proved to be a virgin. A Chinese informer consorted
with a girl named Tai-Yau "against her will, which led to his being
rewarded, and to her being fined one hundred dollars." She was unable
to pay the fine, and sold her little boy in part payment for it, in
order to escape a life of prostitution.

But need we go into further painful details? There are hundreds more
of such cases of cruel wrong on record, and God alone knows how many
thousands of cases there are that have never been put on record. We
only aim to give a case here and there in illustration of the many
forms of cruelty practiced upon innocent women in order to force them
into prostitution, and to demonstrate that brothel slavery at Hong
Kong cannot truthfully be represented as the outcome of Chinese
customs which foreign officials have found difficulty in altering.

But why should Americans be called upon to acquaint themselves with
such loathsome details? In order that Americans may have some just
conception of their duty toward the large number of these poor,
unhappy slaves who have been brought from Hong Kong to their own



Sir John Pope Hennessy went to Hong Kong as Governor of the Colony in
the early Spring of 1877. In the following October a tragedy occurred,
which drew his attention to the administration of the Registrar
General, and he set himself to the task of trying to right some of the
wrongs of the Chinese women.

The case last mentioned in the previous chapter related to a woman
by the name of Tai-Yau, whom an informer humbled "against her will,"
which led to his being rewarded and her being fined $100, to pay which
she sold her little boy. This seems to have been the only way open for
her to escape a life of prostitution. To make this point clear, we
will here insert the explanation of conditions given by Dr. Eitel in
a communication for the information of Governor Hennessy at a little
later period than the incident we are about to relate. He speaks of
Chinese women who secretly practiced prostitution [but, as we have
shown, many respectable Chinese women suffered also], as

    "preyed upon by informers paid with Government money, who would
    first debauch such women and then turn against them, charging them
    before the magistrate under the Ordinance 10, 1867, before the
    Registrar General as keepers of unlicensed brothels in which case
    a heavy fine would be inflicted, to pay which these women used to
    sell their children, or sell themselves into bondage worse than
    ordinary slavery, to the keepers of brothels licensed by the
    Government. Whenever a so-called sly brothel was broken up these
    keepers would crowd the shroff's office [money exchanger's office]
    of the police court or the visiting room of the Government Lock
    Hospital to drive their heartless bargains, _which were
    invariably enforced with the weighty support of the inspectors of
    brothels_,[A] appointed by Government under the Contagious
    Diseases Ordinance. The more this Ordinance was enforced, the more
    this buying and selling of human flesh went on at the very doors
    of Government offices."

[Footnote A: We italicise this to call attention to the active part
officials took in encouraging slavery.]

We can then readily imagine Tai-Yau as sentenced to pay her fine of
one hundred dollars, and nothing to pay with. The money exchanger's
office next the court room was crowded with slave-dealers, waiting to
offer to pay the fines of such unhappy creatures, and she probably
turned to them. If she were sent to jail what would become of her
little boy? And if she sold herself to the licensed brothel-keepers,
as the inspectors of brothels were urging her to do, the fate of her
boy would be even worse. She could see a hope that if she sold the boy
for "adoption," a form of slavery the Hong Kong Government permitted,
of which we will tell more,--then if she had her freedom she could at
least hope to redeem him some time. So the little fellow was sold
for about forty dollars, and she went away sixty dollars in
debt,--probably to the brothel-keepers, who would never let her out
of their sight until, through the debt and the interest thereon, they
would in time be enabled to seize her as their slave. But she went out
hoping for some honest way of earning the money, or else she would
have bargained with them at once to work off the debt by prostitution.
But what could a Chinese woman do in the face of such a debt? A
painter's wages at Hong Kong at this time were five dollars a month. A
woman's wages at any respectable occupation would not have been more
than half that amount. Ten cents a day would be a fair computation.
And all the time she would be trying to earn the money the debt would
be increasing by the interest on it; and her little boy would increase
more rapidly in value than in years.

All this occurred in November, 1876. About the first of October, 1877,
nearly a year later, she engaged a single room for herself and a
servant[A] at 42 Peel street, of a woman named Lau-a Yee. Mrs. Lau,
the landlady, had the top floor of a little house. Another family
had the first floor, and the street door leading up to Mrs. Lau's
apartments ended in a trap door which was shut down at night. There
were also folding doors half way up the stairway, not reaching to the
ceiling, however, that could be locked at night to make the place
doubly secure from intruders. The little upper flat consisted of only
three rooms. Mrs. Lau occupied the front room, and her servant woman
slept on the floor in the passage-way, and took care of Mrs. Lau's
little child. This servant woman had a friend come over from Canton to
spend the night with her and seek for employment. The middle room
was occupied by Tai Yau, the woman who had sold her little boy into
slavery, and her servant. The back room was vacant. Tai Yau was about
twenty-six years old, and her servant nearly sixty.

[Footnote A: The evidence does not make it clear how so poor a woman
should have a servant. Might she not in reality have been acting the
part of "pocket-mother" to the girl?]

On the evening of October 16th, 1877, Inspector Lee gave ten one
dollar bills to his interpreter, telling him to go out and use it in
catching unlicensed women. The interpreter found two friends and gave
one three dollars and the other seven dollars to help him in his
errand. Think of it! The man to whom the three dollars were given was
a worthless fellow who in his own words, lived "on his friends." When
he worked he earned about 14 cents a day. The other man to whom was
given seven dollars for a night of pleasure, earned five dollars a
month when he worked at his trade--painting.

These men went to an opium shop where they found a pander. Apparently
they did not know where to find unlicensed women without his help. Two
other men joined them, and they all went to No. 9 Lyndhurst Terrace,
the interpreter lingering about in waiting somewhere outside. When
two of the men learned that they had been brought with the purpose
of using their testimony against the women they withdrew. There were
three women in the house. One was of loose morals, or at any rate she
trifled with temptation; the other two managed to withdraw. A supper
of fowls, stuffed pigs' feet, sausages, eggs, and plenty of native
wine was brought in, and they feasted, the men getting under the
influence of drink. A-Nam, the pander, went out and hunted up two
more girls for the feast. Perhaps these suspected a plot, for they
withdrew. Then A-Nam went again, and returned with Tai-Yau.

It was about nine o'clock when A-Nam came to 42 Peel street and called
Tai Yau out. Mrs. Lau saw her go out with him, but was not uneasy, for
she had seen him there before as a friend of Tai Yau. Is it not quite
likely it was from him she borrowed the money? He was the kind of man
whose profession would lead him to hang around the Registrar's court
in order to get on the track of unlicensed women and to get them in
his power. If such were the case, and she owed him money, she would be
terribly in his power.[A] She went away with him to the feast near
by at No. 9 Lyndhurst Terrace, and at twelve o'clock she returned in
company with A-Nam and a strange man. Mrs. Lau was up and worshipping
in her room. She came and said to Tai Yau: "Who is this?" seeing the
strange man sitting on a chair. "What is this strange man doing here?"
Tai Yau replied, "Oh, he is a shopman and is my husband."

[Footnote A: Chief Inspector Whitehead testified before the
Commission: "When an unlicensed brothel is broken up the women have to
resort in most cases to prostitution for a living." Though the wrong
done Tai Yau had been "against her will," yet it had brought her into
court upon the charge of being a "common prostitute," and thrown her
heavily into debt. It is not unlikely she now found it almost beyond
her power to resist becoming enslaved as a prostitute.]

The name of the man with A-Nam was A-Kan, and A-Kan had been a witness
against her when she had been condemned before and fined $100. Now he
was here in her room again at this time of night, with the man who had
brought them together.

Meanwhile Inspector Lee and the interpreter who had given this A-Kan
seven dollars to entrap an unlicensed woman, were hunting along the
street below to trace the house into which A-Kan had managed to get an
entrance. They began to call "A-Kan! A-Kan!" Someone, probably quite
innocently said, "I think the man you are looking for went into the
house opposite. I saw some one enter there." This was all the clue
they had, yet on that evidence alone, Inspector Lee began to pound
on the street door of the house, No. 42. A woman on the first floor
looked out, and the Inspector ordered her to open the street door. If
she recognized him as an officer she would not have dared refuse. The
inspector and the interpreter went up the stairs, but encountered
folding doors half way up, locked across the stairs. The Inspector
managed to get over them and unlock them from the inside, and on they
went, and paused to listen beneath the trap door. They did not hear
A-Kan's voice, and did not know whether he was there. They had only
the conjecture of the woman across the street to proceed upon,
nevertheless they had forced their way into this private abode
occupied by women, knowing nothing whatever about the place, whether
it was respectable or not. At this moment Mrs. Lau heard voices of men
on her stairs, and said in alarm to A-Kan, "The inspector is coming,
looking for you, isn't he?" A-Kan said "Yes." Then Tai Yau threw
herself at the feet of A-Kan and begged for mercy, saying: "I was
arrested before and fined a hundred dollars. I sold my son to pay the
fine, and you must not say anything now." He sanctimoniously shook his
head, as though weighing his responsibility, saying: "I don't know, I
don't know." She did not recognize him, but he was the very man who
had before informed against her and secured her conviction, when she
was humbled "against her will." He now opened the trap door to let the
inspector and his interpreter in. Tai Yau exclaimed to Mrs. Lau, "He
is coming to arrest women for keeping an unlicensed brothel, let us
flee!" Tai-Yau ran up a ladder through a scuttle out upon the flat
roof of the house, her old servant following and Mrs. Lau behind. The
inspector and interpreter followed, while the informer escaped from
the house. Mrs. Lau managed to reach the hatch of the next house, No.
44, and ran down that into the street, hotly chased by the inspector.
He said in his testimony: "I pursued the woman down the trap, and
followed her right into the street. I pursued and she ran up the
steps of Peel street and up to Staunton street, and a Lokong [Chinese
constable] caught her about ten yards from Aberdeen street." Then the
occupants of the ground floor of 44 Peel street called to Inspector
Lee and told him that some people had fallen from the roof into their
cook-house, and Inspector Lee said in his testimony: "I went into the
cook-house and saw the deceased [the old servant of Tai Yau] lying on
the granite on her face, with her head close to an earthenware chatty
[water-bottle] which I pointed out, and the bundle of clothing with a
Chinese rule lying on the top of her head, or on the back of the neck.
Close beside her was another woman lying on the other side of the
chatty with her feet against the wall and her head out toward the
cook-house door. I had a Chinese candle. I took up the bundle of
clothes off deceased's head, and turned her on her back, and there
were no signs of life apparent. The other woman was bleeding from the
face, and her face and neck were covered with blood. She was moving as
if in great pain. I sent for the ambulance at once, and by this time
the whole street was aroused." The two women, Tai Yau and the old
servant, had fallen through a smoke-hole in the roof.

Tai Yau had a fractured jaw and left thigh, besides internal injuries.
She lived but ten days. The verdict rendered in each of these cases
was nearly the same. That of Tai Yau's calamity reads in part:

    "Mok Tai-Yau, on the morning of the 17th of October, in the year
    aforesaid, being on the roof of a house, known as 44, Peel Street,
    Victoria, and having fled there in consequence of the entry of an
    Inspector of Brothels into the house known as 42, Peel Street,
    where she lived, accidentally and by misfortune fell down an open
    area, known as a smoke-hole, unto the granite pavement beneath,
    and by means thereof did receive mortal bruises, fractures and
    contusions, of which she died.... The jury aforesaid are further
    of opinion that Inspector Lee, the aforesaid Inspector of
    Brothels, exceeded his powers by entering the house, No. 42,
    Peel Street, without a warrant, or any direct authority from the
    Registrar General or the Superintendent of Police, and would
    strongly recommend that the whole system of obtaining convictions
    against keepers of unlicensed brothels be thoroughly revised,
    as the present practice is, in our opinion, both illegal and

[Footnote A: Inspector Lee testified on this occasion that he
sometimes had chased women over the roofs of as many as twenty
contiguous houses.]

On Nov. 1st, 1877, Governor Hennessy wrote to the Colonial Office,

    "I have taken the responsibility of putting a stop to a practice
    which has existed in this Colony since September, 1868, when Sir
    Richard MacDonnell sanctioned the appropriation of Government
    money for the pay of informers who might induce Chinese women to
    prostitute themselves, and thus bring them under the penal clauses
    of the Contagious Diseases Ordinance. For many years past this
    branch of the Registrar General's office has led to grave abuses.
    It has been a fruitful source of extortion, but what is far worse,
    a department of the State, as one of the local papers now points
    out, which is supposed to be constituted for the protection of the
    Chinese, has been employing a dangerously loose system, whereby
    the sanctity of native households may be seriously compromised.
    I had no idea that the Secret Service Fund was used for this
    loathsome purpose until my attention was drawn to an inquest on
    the bodies of two Chinese women who were killed by falling from
    a house in which one of the informers employed by the Registrar
    General was pursuing his avocations.... I am taking steps to
    institute a searching inquiry into the whole subject. The European
    community are ashamed at the revelations that have been made at
    the inquest, and amongst the Chinese the practice that has been
    brought to light is, viewed with abhorrence."

This was the incident which led to the appointment of the Commission
of Inquiry into the working of the Contagious Diseases Ordinance, the
report of which Commission we have already had occasion to quote from
more than once.

Later, Governor Hennessy wrote to the Colonial Office:

    "Whilst the Attorney General is of opinion that, strictly
    speaking, there is a _prima facie_ case of manslaughter made out
    against Inspector Lee, and that possibly a conviction might be
    obtained, he advises against a prosecution. I do not concur with
    the Attorney General in the reasons he gives for not instituting a
    prosecution in this case."

During the year previous, 1876, Ordinance No. 2 had been passed,
depriving the Registrar General of the much-abused judicial powers
he had exercised since 1867, and transferring them to the police

Speaking of the incident of Tai Yau having sold her boy to pay her
fine, Governor Hennessy wrote the Colonial Office, under date of
December 6th, 1877:

    "I am now informed that the Commissioners have obtained from the
    records of the Registrar General's department and from Mr. Smith's
    evidence the clearest proof that this practice of selling human
    beings in Hong Kong was well known to the department. One of the
    records has been shown to me in which a witness swears, 'I bought
    the girl Chan Tsoi Lin and placed her in a brothel in Hong Kong';
    and on that particular piece of evidence no action was taken by
    the department."

Lord Carnarvon was Secretary of State for the Colonies at this time,
and his replies to Sir John Pope Hennessy were small encouragement to
the course the Governor had taken. He criticises his "somewhat unusual
course" in the appointment of a Commission "composed of private
persons to inquire into the administration of an important department
of the Government." He says: "I am unable to concur in the suggestion
made in your despatch as to the advisability of prosecuting Inspector
Lee." He implies that in his opinion "Inspector Lee was acting
strictly within his powers on this unfortunate occasion." "It is
quite possible," Lord Carnarvon continues, "that there may be abuses
connected with the Contagious Diseases Ordinance which ought to
be removed; but I would point out that such abuses arise from the
imperfections in the system as established by law.... While ready
to give consideration to the subject of amending the system, if
necessary, I fail at present to observe wherein the officers ... have
exceeded the duty imposed upon them by law."

From such responses as these we readily learn that it was not alone in
Hong Kong that these outrageous abuses of every principle of justice
in dealing with Chinese women failed to arouse more than a lukewarm
interest in their behalf, and all the way through Sir John Pope
Hennessy, with one or two notable exceptions, so far as the records
go, was shown but scant sympathy in his efforts to correct these

On April 2nd, 1878, Sir Harcourt Johnstone asked in the House of
Commons the Secretary of State for the Colonies, "whether his
attention has been directed to a recent outrage committed ... at Hong
Kong, which is now forming the subject of inquiry by a Commission
appointed by the Governor. And if he will cause special investigation
to be made as to the manner in which the revenue derived from
licensing houses of ill-fame is raised and expended for the service of
the Colony."

In answer to this question, the Commission reported that, "the monies
raised both by the licenses from houses of ill-fame, and from the
fines inflicted under the provisions of these Ordinances, have been
expended in the general services of the Colony; and that the actual
revenue derived from this source, since and including 1857 down to
the end of 1877, amounted to $187,508, to which must be added the
Admiralty allowance from 1870 to 1877, amounting to $28,860, and fines
estimated at $5,000, making a total of $221,368.00."

After July 1st, 1878, the fund derived from brothels was used for the
operation of the provisions of the Contagious Diseases Ordinance only.

Later, on July 28, 1882, Governor Hennessy received in London a large
deputation of gentlemen interested in the abolition of the Contagious
Diseases Ordinance of Hong Kong. To these he addressed the following
words descriptive of the condition of things at Hong Kong unearthed by
the Commission:

    "I saw in the Colony abuses existing which have effect far beyond
    the range of Hong Kong. Let me instance one or two only. We get
    from Great Britain some European police. They are men selected
    with care for good conduct, and they are sometimes married men;
    their passages and their wives' passages have been paid to Hong
    Kong, where married police quarters are provided. But what
    transpired when that Commission was held? The Registrar General
    had recorded in his book, morning after morning, the evidence of
    informers _selected from that police force_, whom _he had employed
    to commit adultery_ with unlicensed Chinese women; and borne of
    these men were married police, whose wives were brought to Hong
    Kong; so that in point of fact, he was _not only encouraging
    adultery but paying for it with the money of the State_. Well, I
    stopped that, of course.... At the head of the Registrar General's
    Department in Hong Kong, we appoint an officer, as we believe, of
    the highest character. One of the gentlemen so employed puts on a
    false beard and moustache, he takes marked money in his waistcoat
    pocket, and proceeds to the back lanes of the Colony, knocks at
    various doors, and, at length, gains admission to a house. He
    addresses the woman who opens the door and tells her he wants a
    Chinese girl. There is an argument as to the price, and he agrees
    to give four dollars. He is shown up to the room, and gives her
    the money. What I am now telling you is the gentleman's own
    evidence. He records how he flung up the window and put out his
    head and whistled. The police whom he had in attendance in the
    street, broke open the door and arrested the girl. She is brought
    up the next day to be tried for the offence; but, before whom?
    Before the Acting Registrar General--before the same gentleman
    who had the beard and moustache the night before. He tries her
    himself, and on the books of the Registrar General's office (I
    have turned to them and read his own evidence recorded in his
    own handwriting) there is his own conviction of the girl, of the
    offence, and his sentence, that she be fined fifty dollars and
    some months' imprisonment! I mention this for this reason--that
    the officer who did this was appointed because he was supposed to
    be a man of exceptionally high moral tone, and good conduct and
    demeanour. But what would be the effect on any man having to
    administer such an Ordinance? There was laid before my Legislative
    Council a case of one of the European Inspectors of brothels, and
    I was struck by this fact in his evidence. He says: 'I took the
    marked money from the Registrar General's office, and followed a
    woman, and consorted with her, and gave her the money; and the
    moment I had done so, I put my hand in my pocket and pulled out
    the badge of office, and pointed to the Crown, and arrested the
    woman.' She was henceforth 'a Queen's woman'."



The justification for the passage of the Contagious Diseases Ordinance
at the beginning, as set forth in Mr. Labouchere's dispatch on the
27th of August, 1856, to Sir John Bowring was, that the "women" "held
in practical slavery" "through no choice of their own," "have an
urgent claim on the _active protection_ of Government." It has been
claimed again and again by officials at Hong Kong and Singapore that
protection is in large part the object and aim of the Ordinance. For
instance: In 1877, Administrator W.H. Marsh, of Hong Kong, learning
that there was a likelihood of the Contagious Diseases Ordinance being
disallowed by the Home Government, wrote to the Secretary of State for
the Colonies:

    "It is the unanimous opinion of the Executive Council that the
    laws now in existence have had, when they have been properly
    worked, a most beneficial effect in this Colony ... in putting the
    only practical check on a system of brothel slavery, under which
    children were either sold by their parents, or more frequently
    were kidnaped and sold to the proprietors of brothels. These
    unfortunate girls were so fully convinced that they were the goods
    and chattels of their purchasers, or were so terrified by
    threats, that they rarely if ever made any complaints even when
    interrogated. It was very seldom that sufficient evidence could be
    obtained to punish such nefarious traffickers."

A document enclosed in this letter to the Colonial Secretary at
London, signed by the Acting Colonial Secretary at Hong Kong, the
Colonial Surgeon, and the Registrar General, states: "Perhaps the
strongest argument in favor of the Ordinances is the means they place
in the hands of the Government for coping with _brothel slavery_."
From the moment Mr. Labouchere put this false claim to the front
it has been the chief argument advanced by officials eager for the
Contagious Diseases Ordinance as a method of providing "clean women,"
in order to win to their side the benevolent-minded.

On this point the Commission reported: "In regard to the only result
worthy of a moment's consideration, viz., that referred to by Mr.
Labouchere's dispatch, of putting down the virtual slavery of women
in brothels, the conclusions of those in the best position to form
trustworthy opinions is not encouraging." Mr. Smith, who took over
charge of the Registrar General's office in October, 1864, and who had
many years of experience in that position, is quoted as saying: "I
think it is useless to try and deal with the question of the freedom
of Chinese prostitutes by law or by any Government regulation. From
all the surroundings the thing is impracticable." Mr. Lister, another
Registrar General, says: "I don't think the new Ordinance had any real
effect, or could have had any effect upon the sale of women. I don't
think any good is done by preventing women emigrating to San Francisco
or other places, as their fate is just the same whether they go or

The Commissioners state:

    "The well-meant system devised by the Registrar General's
    Department which requires every woman personally to appear before
    an Inspector at the office, and declare her willingness to enter
    a licensed brothel, and that she does so without coercion, before
    she can be registered, may probably act as some check upon glaring
    cases of kidnaping, so far as the licensed brothels are concerned.
    But it seems clear that for the supply of such establishments,
    there is no need to resort to kidnaping, in the ordinary
    acceptance of the term. There can be no doubt that, with the
    exception of a comparatively few who have been driven by adversity
    to adopt a life of prostitution, when arrived at a mature age, the
    bulk of the girls, in entering brothels, are merely fulfilling
    the career for which they have been brought up, and even if they
    resent it, a few minutes' conversation with a foreigner, probably
    the first many of them have ever been brought into communication
    with, is but little likely to lead them to stultify the results of
    education, according to whose teachings they are the property of
    others and under the necessity of obeying their directions. The
    idea that they are at liberty not to enter a brothel unless they
    wish it, must, to girls so brought up, be unintelligible. To what
    other source indeed could they turn for a livelihood? Who can
    tell, moreover, what hopes or aspirations have been instilled into
    the minds of these girls? The life on which she is about to enter
    has probably not been painted to her in its true colors. Why
    should they shrink from it? As a matter of fact they never do....
    Mr. Smith, however, thinks, with regard to these women, Government
    supervision does ameliorate their condition somewhat. The women
    are periodically seen in their houses by the inspectors, and the
    cleanliness and comfort of the houses is carefully looked after.'
    With the internal cleanliness and comfort of brothels, we think
    the Government has little to do. But the amelioration of the
    inmates is a matter which certainly stands on a different footing,
    and is one in which the Government has a deep interest."

The Report goes on to state that the Commissioners do not endorse the
views of Mr. Smith as to the amelioration of the condition of
the inmates of brothels, through Governmental registration and
supervision, and states:

    "Young girls, virgins of 13 or 14 years of age, are brought from
    Canton or elsewhere and deflowered according to bargain, and, as
    a regular business, for large sums of money, which go to their
    owners.... The regular earnings of the girls go to the same
    quarters, and the unfortunate creatures obviously form subjects
    of speculation to regular traders in this kind of business, who
    reside beyond our jurisdiction. In most of the regular houses, the
    inmates are more or less in debt to the keepers, and though such
    debts are not legally enforceable, a custom stronger than law
    forbids the woman to leave the brothel until her debts are
    liquidated, and it is only in rare cases that she does so." "As to
    the brothel-keepers, there is nothing known against them, and they
    are supported by capitalists. Mr. Lister speaks of them as 'a
    horrible race of cruel women, cruel to the last degree, who use an
    ingenious form of torture, which they call prevention of sleep,'
    which he describes in detail.... It seems that although the
    Brothel Ordinances did not call into being this 'horrible,'
    'cruel,' and 'haughty' race of women, they have armed them with
    obvious powers, which they would not otherwise have possessed,
    and there is consequently reason to apprehend that Government
    supervision accentuates in some respects rather than relieves the
    hardships of the servitude of the inmates."

The records furnish many instances to prove that the Registrar
General's Department was not operated with the least idea of relieving
the slave from her bondage. These are culled from the court records.
We will condense some of them.

    1. Three sisters were brought by their foster-mother from Macao
    to Hong Kong, on the promise of a feast; they were taken to the
    house of an old brothel-keeper, to whom the foster-mother sold the
    girls, receiving ten dollars apiece for them, to bind the bargain,
    and she went away, leaving the girls with this old woman, who
    began immediately to urge them to become prostitutes; they cried
    and refused, asking to be allowed to go to their foster-mother who
    had brought them up,--not suspecting that they had been already
    sold by her into shameful slavery. The old woman locked them up,
    and beat one of the girls, who had resisted her cruel fate. Their
    meals were all taken into the room where they were kept close
    prisoners from that time. Brought into court, the foster-mother
    was set at liberty, although the history was fully set forth, and
    the old woman declared: "She pledged the girls in my house, by
    receiving thirty dollars from me.... I have a witness who saw the
    money paid." The brothel-keeper was convicted only of assault for
    beating the girl, and sentenced to three months' imprisonment with
    hard labor. No reference was made to her own admissions as
    to buying these girls, and endeavoring to force them into
    prostitution. Ten days later, her case was brought up again, and
    the remaining portion of her sentence was remitted, and she was
    fined twenty-five dollars. No record is made as to what became of
    these hapless girls; it is to be assumed that they were sent back
    to the brothel.

    2. Two girls brought before the Registrar General, both of whom
    pleaded for protection against their owner, stating that she
    intended to sell them to go to California. One of these had been
    bought by this woman for eighty dollars; the girl saw the price
    paid for her; the other said her mother was very poor, and sold
    her for twenty dollars. Each declared she had been living under
    the "protection" of a foreigner until recently, and that she had
    not "acted as a prostitute"; they now feared being "sold into
    California" by the woman in charge. The Inspector said: "There has
    been at times a number of women residing in the house, and I do
    not know what has become of them. I believe that they have been
    sent to California by the defendant." One of the girls being
    recalled, and seeming to have gained courage, witnessed that she
    had been in the house when several women had been brought there
    and after some time had been sent away to California. She had been
    present when bargains were struck for the women, the price being
    various; bought here, the women cost from fifty to one hundred
    and fifty dollars, and when sold in California they were to be
    disposed of from two hundred and fifty to three hundred and fifty
    each.[A] She said the woman had "made a great deal of money. She
    has told me so." She also said some were unwilling to go, but were
    afraid to resist. She said between ten and twenty women had passed
    through the woman's hands, to her knowledge. The brothel-keeper's
    reply was, that the last witness owed her money, and had taken
    some ornaments which belonged to her--together with a denial that
    she had bought anybody or sent anyone to California. What was the
    outcome of this dreadful arraignment of crimes against Chinese
    girls? The woman was "ordered to find security (two sureties of
    $250 each) for her appearance in any court, for any purpose and at
    any time within twelve months." No record as to the fate of the
    two girls who had sought "protection" of the authorities.

    [Footnote A: The market price of a Chinese girl at the present
    time (1907) in California is $3000.]

    3. Two young girls were found in a licensed house of shame, whose
    names were not on the list, the keeper and a woman, Ho-a-ying,
    who had brought the girls from Canton to Hong Kong, were summoned
    before the Registrar General. Ho-a-ying represented the girls
    as sisters, and that she visited them in Canton and found their
    mother dead, and that she brought them to Hong Kong because of
    their appeal to her to find them work, and that she put them into
    defendant's brothel. She contradicted herself in her testimony
    as to the name and house of the girls' mother, and the girls
    themselves declared that they were not sisters, and had never seen
    each other until they met on the steamer at Canton the day before.
    One of the girls declared: "I was sold by Ho-a-ying to the
    mistress of the brothel. I heard them talking about it, and so I
    know it. Ho-a-Ying also told me that I had been sold. I do not
    know for what sum." The brothel-keeper stated that Ho-a-Ying came
    and asked if she wanted two girls, as she had two who had come
    from Canton. "The girls were brought, and after being in the house
    a short time the Inspector came. I purposed having their names
    entered on the following morning." The brothel-keeper was fined
    five dollars for keeping an incorrect list of inmates. Ho-a-Ying
    was convicted of giving false testimony, and fined fifty dollars;
    in default, three months' imprisonment. No information as to the
    disposal of the girls, and no punishment for this bargaining in
    human flesh.

    4. Six Chinese persons from licensed brothel No. 71, Wellington
    Street, were arraigned before the Registrar General, charged with
    buying and selling girls for evil purposes, and also with selling
    girls to go to California, and with disturbing the peace. The
    Inspector described the house thus: "I found all the defendants
    on the first floor. I found six girls in the house and three
    children. The floor was very crowded ... four of the girls were
    in a room by themselves at the back of the house. They were all
    huddled up together, and seemed frightened. The defendants were
    in the front part of the house. The girls at the back part of the
    house could not have got out without passing through the room
    where the defendants were. This house has been known to me for a
    long time as one where young girls were kept to be shipped off to

    A watch-repairer and jeweler who had resided opposite this place
    for three or four years declared that he knew the first defendant,
    A-Neung, and that she had lived there some years, on the first
    floor; that he had seen a number of girls going in and out of
    the house, seeming to arrive by steamer, some in chairs and some
    walking, and that he knew from what he had seen of her and the
    girls that she was a buyer and seller of girls. A carpenter living
    below in the same house deposed: "I have always seen a number of
    young girls being taken in and out of the house. The age of the
    girls ranged from 10 to 20 years. There was always a great deal of
    crying and groaning amongst the girls up-stairs. I have not heard
    any beating, but the girls were constantly crying. The crying was
    annoying to me and the other people in the shop. The people living
    in the neighborhood have, together with myself, suspected that the
    girls were bought and sold to go to California." Another neighbor
    deposed to knowing the third defendant as "in the habit last year
    of taking young girls of various ages, from 10 to 20, about the
    Colony for sale. I knew this defendant wanted to sell the girls,
    as she asked me if I knew any woman who wanted to buy them. She
    comes from Canton." A girl from Wong-Po found in No. 71 brothel,
    told of being taken to Canton at eleven years of age and sold by
    her sister as a servant to the Lam family. After being in this
    family three or four years, her mistress and the second defendant,
    Tai-Ku, a relation of her mistress and daughter to the first
    defendant (A-Neung, keeper of the brothel), took her to a
    "flower-boat," and the next day by steamer to Hong Kong, and she
    was taken to the house of A-Neung. Her mistress stayed in the
    house three days, and sold her to the first and second defendants
    (mother and daughter) for $120. She added: "This was in the tenth
    month last year.... I was never allowed to go out. I have never
    been out of the house since I came to Hong Kong [nearly six
    months]. First, second and third defendants never went out of the
    house together [some one always being on guard]. Last year Tai-Ku
    and A-Neung told me that I should have to go to San Francisco.
    This year I was again told that I was going to San Francisco. I
    said I did not want to go. Tai-Ku then beat me." Another girl
    only 19 years old, married about four years, declared that in
    consequence of a quarrel between herself and another wife of her
    husband, he sold her to Sz-Shan, fifth defendant, for $81, who
    brought her from Tamshui by steamer to Hong Kong, and took her to
    A-Neung's house, where she was being held for sale. She finished
    her testimony thus: "Several men have been up to the house to see
    me. They were going to buy me if they liked me." A letter was
    produced by the Inspector, which he found in A-Neung's house, from
    Canton to the writer's sister-in-law in Hong Kong, urging that as
    the owner had lost money on the "present cargoes," a higher price
    must be set on them and the sale hastened, as soon as the letter
    should arrive, and word returned that they had been disposed of;
    also directing that "after the transaction, one cue-tassel and one
    shirting trouser" were to be taken back and sent to Canton by the
    hand of a friend at first opportunity. (This as a pledge of good

    A-Neung, first defendant, declared that she was "a widow,
    supported by her son-in-law now in California. Mine is a family
    house. The girls are visitors at my house." The second defendant,
    Tai-Ku, daughter of the preceding, declared herself to be a
    married woman, and that her husband was in California, on a
    steamer; that the girls were not hers, and that she was "not in
    the habit of sending girls to California." The third defendant
    deposed that she came from Canton to ask A-Neung for some money,
    and added: "I never buy and sell girls." Fourth defendant claimed
    to be utterly ignorant of the girls being sent to California, and
    said she was supported by Tai-Ku; the fifth defendant declared she
    knew nothing of the buying and selling of girls; and the sixth
    defendant claimed she had gone to the house to obtain the payment
    of a debt; she was discharged.

    The sentence was:--First, second, third, fourth and fifth
    defendants to find two securities, householders, in $500 each,
    to appear at any time within the next six months, to answer any
    charge in any court in the Colony.

    Whether the girls were sent to California to swell the number of
    wretched slaves on the Pacific Coast, or remained in slavery in
    Hong Kong, there is no record to be found; nor, even with abundant
    evidence concerning this licensed brothel which the Inspector
    himself declared he was long familiar with as a place "where young
    girls were kept to be shipped off to California," and with the
    evident collusion between A-Neung and Tai-Ku with the son-in-law
    and husband respectively of the two women, situated most favorably
    on a steamer for managing this wicked business at the California
    end of the line, and with all the testimony of the neighbors and
    the girls, yet no effort was made by the Registrar-General to
    punish these people for trafficking in human flesh.

    5. An old man complained before the Registrar-General, that his
    granddaughter, A-Ho, had got into debt because of sickness, and in
    order to pay the money, she was induced by an uncle of Su-a-Kiu to
    apply to the latter for help. Su-a-Kiu promised to advance her the
    money, $52, if A-Ho would serve her eight months in a brothel kept
    by a "friend" of the woman in Singapore. A-Ho's stress was so
    great that she entered into these hard terms, the woman paying her
    $52 at the steamer, as it was going, and A-Ho handed it to her
    grandfather to pay her debt. A-Ho left on the "26th of the 8th
    moon" for Singapore. On the evening of "the fourth day of the 10th
    moon" he received a letter from A-Ho to the effect that she had
    been sold for $250, to another party. When the grandfather went
    to Su-a-Kiu and asked her why she had sold his granddaughter, she
    cajoled him by promising to take him to Singapore to see A-Ho.
    Later, the man who lived with Su-a-Kiu, came and threatened to
    accuse him of extortion, acknowledging of himself that he "lived
    by selling women into brothels of Singapore." The grandfather
    reported the case to the Registrar-General. The woman
    Su-a-Kiu stated: "I took A-Ho to Singapore. I took her to the
    "Sai-Shing-Tong Brothel" in Macao Street. She is still in that
    brothel." The Registrar-General ordered her to find security in
    the sum of $100 to appear to answer any charge within the next
    three months. The grandfather was also ordered to find similar
    security in the sum of $70.

    The girl A-Ho, in seeking to pay her debt contracted through
    sickness, by servitude for eight months, was entrapped and sold as
    a slave for life, and the Registrar-General, when acquainted
    with the facts, seems to have taken no steps to punish this
    slave-trader. Governor Hennessey, in calling the attention of the
    Home Government to these, out of many similar ones, says: "The
    accompanying extracts from the printed evidence [taken by the
    Commission] show that the Registrar-General's Department was not
    ignorant of the fact that Chinese women were purchased for Hong
    Kong brothels, and that the head of the Department thought it
    useless to try to deal with the question of the freedom of such
    women.... That the buying and selling was not confined to places
    outside the Colony is clear from the evidence of other witnesses,
    and from the notes of cases taken by the Registrar-General
    himself. It will also be seen that where the persons guilty of
    such offences were sometimes punished, it was generally for some
    minor offence, such as not keeping a correct list of inmates, or
    for an assault."

    Doubtless slavery would spring into prominence in almost any land
    when once it became known that in places actually licensed by
    Government, such as were the houses of ill-fame at Hong Kong,
    where the inspectors made almost daily visits, slaves could be
    held with impunity, and that when slave girls made a complaint,
    and their cases were actually brought into court, charging the
    buying and selling of human beings, the officers of the law would
    ignore the complaints.



The Registrar General was not the only official at Hong Kong who did
not believe in the extermination of slavery, as we shall proceed
to show, although the Governor had strong sympathy from the Chief

On May 30th, 1879, Sir John Smale, Chief Justice of the Colony of Hong
Kong, wrote a letter for the information of the Governor, Sir John
Pope Hennessy, to the effect that he had sentenced, on the previous
day, two poor women to imprisonment with hard labor, for detaining
a boy 13 years old. The women sold the little boy to a druggist for
$17.50. The relatives traced their lost boy, came from Canton and
claimed him, but the druggist refused to give him up, producing a
bill of sale, and the boy was not given up until they appeared in the
police court. The Chief Justice adds:

    "I am satisfied from the evidence that the great criminal is this
    druggist, and that it is an opprobrium to the administration of
    justice to punish these poor women as I have done, and allow the
    druggist to escape. I therefore ask His Excellency to direct that
    proceedings be forthwith taken against the man, and that the case
    be conducted at the magistracy by the Crown Solicitor, so that he
    may be committed for trial before the Supreme Court."

He then speaks of a case of a woman whom he sentenced on May 6th,
1879, to two years' imprisonment with hard labor for stealing a female
child. He adds:

    "The woman was merely a middle woman, and received a small sum,
    but it came out in the evidence that Leung A-Luk had bought the
    child for $53, and was actually confining her in a room where
    the child was discovered. She was the great criminal. It is an
    opprobrium to justice to punish this poor woman, and to allow
    Leung A-Luk to go unpunished. I am aware that, according to
    precedents here and at home, it is within the province of the
    presiding judge to direct prosecutions such as these to be
    instituted, but I think it more convenient to ask His Excellency,
    as the head of the Executive (whose province it especially is to
    originate criminal proceedings) to direct prosecution. To let
    these chief offenders go unprosecuted, and to punish such
    miserable creatures, exposes the court to the contempt of the
    community, and tends to destroy all respect for the administration
    of justice in the Chinese community."

Accordingly the Governor forwarded this request on the part of the
Chief Justice to the Attorney General, saying: "It is clear from the
evidence and from documents published by the Contagious Diseases
Commission that practices of this kind have prevailed unchecked, or
almost unchecked, for many years past in this Colony." The Governor
then referred to a case in point that he had submitted to the former
Attorney General, but he "did not seem disposed to enforce the rights
of the father, on the ground that he had sold the child." The Governor
concludes: "I did not agree with his view of the law."

The last case was referred back to the Acting Police Magistrate to
know why the woman, Leung A-Luk, was allowed to go unprosecuted. The
Police Magistrate replied: "It appeared to me that 4th defendant
(Leung A-Luk) being a well-to-do woman, and having no children of her
own, had purchased the girl with a view to adopting her." He adds:
"When Acting Superintendent of Police last year, I wished to prosecute
a man for detaining a child ... but as it was shown that the boy had
been sold by his father some months previously, the Attorney General
considered the purchaser was _in loco parentis_, [in the place of a
parent] and could not be purchased."

On the two cases to which the attention of the Governor had been
brought, the Attorney General reported:

    "With the greatest respect for the Chief Justice, I doubt the
    policy of prosecuting the woman he refers to, having regard to the
    fact that the magistrate had discharged her for want of testimony,
    and looking to his further report. The magistrate should always be
    supported if possible; and if he discharged the woman, and put her
    at the bar as a witness, and she was used again at the Supreme
    Court, it might look like a breach of good faith to treat her now
    as a criminal.... As to the druggist's case, I think that the only
    thing that can be said is that it would look to be a breach of
    faith to proceed against him now."

When the case was referred to the Crown Solicitor, he said:

    "As to the druggist the parties had now left the Colony, and there
    were no witnesses against him. The purchase by Chinese of young
    orphans, and indeed of others whose parents are too poor to keep
    them, is a social custom amongst the natives, and is of constant
    occurrence in Hong Kong. These 'pocket-children,' as they are
    usually termed, are often treated with great affection, and are
    far better off than they were previous to their being so bought."

It was the 30th of May when the Chief Justice called the Governor's
attention to these cases. It was July before the Attorney General and
the Crown Solicitor seem to have paid any attention to the cases. It
was no wonder, then, that some of the witnesses could not be found.
Meanwhile the Governor had left the Colony for a trip to Japan, and
W.H. Marsh was acting in his place. On July 16th, he returned answer
to the Chief Justice that he had now received a report on the cases
from the Attorney General, the committing magistrate and the Crown
Solicitor, and

    "I regret to inform you that ... I do not see my way to directing
    the prosecutions of the two persons indicated by you; first ...
    because I do not agree with you in looking upon them as the
    principal criminals; and, secondly, because I think that after
    the evidence of these persons has been taken both before the
    committing magistrate and the Supreme Court without any warning
    having been given them that their evidence might be used against
    them, it would appear like a breach of faith to treat them now as
    criminals." "Should the prosecution of these persons result in
    their acquittal, which seems to me not improbable, I fear that the
    good effect produced by the severe reprimand, which I understand
    that your Honor administered publicly to all the parties concerned
    in these two cases, might be to a great extent neutralized." (!)

On September 29th, 1879, the Chief Justice sentenced more criminals
for trafficking in children. A Japanese girl, Sui Ahing, eleven years
old, was brought to the Colony by a Chinaman who had bought the child
in Japan of its parents. Needing money to go on to his native place,
this Chinaman borrowed $50 of a native resident at Hong Kong, and
left the child as security for the debt. The wife of the man in whose
custody the child was left beat the child severely and she ran out of
the house. She was found wandering on the street late at night,
and the finder took her and sold her to another Chinese party, who
threatened to send her to Singapore as a prostitute. It was plain the
last purchaser intended either to send her to Singapore or keep her at
Hong Kong for vile purposes. This case illustrates well the frequency
with which children are sold and re-sold in that country. The parties
to the last transaction, the finder of the child and the purchaser of
the child from the finder, were both found guilty, one of selling,
the other of buying a child for the purposes of prostitution. His
Lordship, the Chief Justice, said:

    "I will call upon the prisoners at another time. This is a case
    of far larger proportions than the guilt or innocence of the two
    prisoners at the bar. I take shame to myself that the appalling
    extent of kidnaping, buying and selling slaves for what I may
    call ordinary servile purposes, and the buying and selling young
    females for worse than ordinary slavery, has not presented itself
    before to me in the light it ought. It seems to me that it has
    been recognized and accepted as an ordinary out-turn of Chinese
    habits, and thus that until special attention has been excited it
    has escaped public notice. But recently the abomination has forced
    itself on my notice. In some cases convictions have been had; in
    two notable instances, although I called for prosecution, the
    criminals escaped. They were Chinese in respectable positions,
    and I was given to understand that buying children by respectable
    Chinamen as servants was according to Chinese customs, and that to
    attempt to put it down would be to arouse the prejudices of the
    Chinese. The practice is on the increase. It is in this port,
    and in this Colony especially, that the so-called Chinese custom
    prevails. Under the English flag, slavery, it has been said, does
    not, cannot ever be. Under that flag it does exist in this Colony,
    and is, I believe, at this moment more openly practiced than at
    any former period of its history. Cyprus has been under our rule
    for about a year, and already, both in the House of Commons and in
    the House of Lords, questions have been asked, and the Members
    of the present Ministry have assured the country that slavery in
    every form shall be speedily put down there. Humanity is of no
    party, and personal liberty is held to be the right of every human
    being under English law, by, I believe, every man of note in
    England. My recent pleasant personal experience in England assures
    me of that. But here in Hong Kong, I believe that domestic slavery
    exists in fact to a great extent. Whatever the law of China may
    be, the law of England must prevail here. If Chinamen are willing
    to submit to the law, they may remain, but on condition of obeying
    the law, whether it accords with their notions of right or wrong
    or not; and, if remaining they act contrary to the law, they must
    take the consequences.... I shall deal with these people when I
    shall have more fully considered the case."

During the proceedings of the trial of these two prisoners, the
Attorney General had declared his intention not to call the former
owners of the child, Wai Alan, the woman who beat the child, or Pao
Chee Wan, her husband. The Chief Justice now said:

    "I now direct you, Mr. Attorney General, to prosecute these two
    people, Pao Chee Wan and Wai Alan." Attorney General:--"My Lord,
    I intimated before that this matter was under consideration; I do
    not think I am at liberty to say under whose consideration."
    His Lordship:--"I direct the prosecution, and will take the
    responsibility. It is the course in England and I will pursue it
    here." The Attorney General:--"You have publicly directed it;
    and I will report it to the proper quarter." His Lordship:--"The
    Attorney General at home is constantly ordered by the Court to
    prosecute. On my responsibility alone I do this." The Attorney
    General:--"May I ask your Lordship to say on what charge?" His
    Lordship:--"Under Sections 50 and 51 of No. 4 of 1865, and also
    for assault." The Attorney General continued to raise objections,
    when the Chief Justice said: "I have said as much as I choose to
    say, and I will not be put to question by the Attorney General. If
    you have any difficulty, come to the Court in Chambers."

Governor Hennessy, in reporting the incident to the Secretary of State
at London, adds: "I sent a note to the Attorney General, saying I
thought that the prosecution suggested by the Chief Justice should
take place; but it was found that the accused parties were not in the
Colony." After this manner many cases brought to the attention of the
officers of the law by parents or guardians of children of kidnaping
and trading in girls and children failed to secure the attention they
deserved. It seems to us not at all amazing, when one reads this past
history, that by the time Chinese girls have seen and learned all that
they must in the Colony of Hong Kong, when brought to this country
they are utterly incredulous as to the good faith of police and other
officials. They must enter a complaint at the risk of their lives, and
if the officer of the law will not prosecute the case in spite of all
its difficulties (which are largely imaginary on the part of lukewarm
officials), then the girl must be returned to the master she has
informed against, to be in his power for him to vent his wrath upon
her. A case in point occurred in Oakland only a few months ago, and we
had a chance to interview the girl. The Captain of Police went through
the brothels of Oakland's Chinatown, accompanied by some missionary
ladies, in order to discover if possible any girls who would
acknowledge that they wished to come away. Every girl was questioned,
in the absence of the keepers, and not one, or perhaps only one, said
she wished to come away. There were some one hundred and fifty Chinese
slave girls in Oakland at this time, and one might say they all had a
chance to escape, and of their own will chose to remain. But was that
the truth? Not at all; the result did not prove at all that one, and
only one wished to come away. It proved merely that only one was
inspired with sufficient confidence and courage, after her long,
hard experience with foreigners, to _say what she wished._ It is the
universal testimony of all the girls who have been rescued, so we have
been told, by those who have been engaged in this rescue work for many
years--that every slave in Chinatown plans and dreams of nothing else
but of the day when, having served long enough to buy her freedom,
she will be granted it by her master or mistress, and then she can be
honorably married. But unless her freedom is purchased for her by some
lover, the cases are rare, indeed, that a girl is allowed to earn her
own freedom, though they are kept submissive by constant promises that
the goal is just ahead of them. A few days after the Oakland papers
had triumphantly asserted that it had been demonstrated that there was
not a single slave girl in Chinatown--a statement that everyone
who had any intelligence on the subject, including the newspapers
themselves, knew to be false--a lady in mission work received a
cautious hint in a round-about way that one of the girls she had seen
when the rounds were made desired to be set at liberty. "How did you
learn this?" we eagerly and quite naturally asked the missionary.
She replied that on no account could she tell a human being how the
intelligence was conveyed to her, as it might cost others very dearly,
even to the sacrifice of life, if the knowledge leaked out. "But," she
said, "I will show you the girl and you may talk with her yourselves."
We gathered from the girl that she was a respectable widow, the mother
of two children, living with her parents not far from Hong Kong on the
mainland. As they were very poor, she went to Hong Kong to work at
sewing to help support the family. An acquaintance there told her
that she could earn as much as thirty dollars a month at sewing in
California, and he could secure her passage for her at economical
cost. She returned to her home and consulted her parents, and they
thought the chance a good one, so bidding her little ones good bye,
she returned to Hong Kong and paid for the ticket, being instructed
that a certain woman would meet her at the wharf at San Francisco whom
she must claim as her "mother," since the immigration laws were so
strict that she must pass herself off as the daughter of this woman
(for this daughter, who was now in China, having lived in the United
States was entitled to return to her mother). Reader, have you ever
traveled on another's ticket? If so, or if you have known a professing
Christian to have done so, do not be too harsh in your judgment of
this heathen, and declare she deserved the terrible fate that overtook
her. The "mother" met the sewing-woman, brought her to Oakland, and
imprisoned her in a horrible den to earn money for her. With utmost
caution our missionary friend rescued her. The Captain of Police and
other officers were at hand to help the missionary, and when the girl
was taken, she struggled frantically and called for help as though
being kidnaped. Had the policemen been there alone they would have let
the captors have their slave, believing they had made a mistake. But
they had not; the missionary knew that; the girl was only thinking
ahead of the possibility of the plot failing and of falling back into
the hands of her captors. She must never betray to them, until safely
out of their clutches, that she _wished_ to come away. She must make
it appear that she was dragged away against her will. And this is free
America! Do you wonder that these girls do not tell everybody who asks
them that they are unwilling captives? Doubtless they would if our
officers of the law showed their good faith by laying hold of these
slave dealers. Nothing was done or attempted to punish the horrible
creatures who captured this girl. They are going on unmolested
with their nefarious business, though many of them could be easily
punished. This part of the work--punishing slave-dealers--has never
been taken up seriously here on the Pacific Coast. And until these
terrible criminals are immured in prison, most certainly these Chinese
slave girls will not declare their desire for freedom, for if it were
granted them they would not be safe--at least they have no reason to
believe they would be, though there are missions where they would be
protected. But what reason have they for believing this is the case,
after the years of training they have had in the perfidy of all those
with whom they come in contact! Many girls have been rescued on this
Pacific Coast, by brave missionary workers. But it is to the lasting
shame of our country that such wicked creatures are allowed to exist
here to import these slaves. Imprison the importers, and the slaves
are rescued. That is the short road to freedom. But that was not the
path pursued by officials in general at Hong Kong, nor is that course
being pursued in the United States. This sewing woman has been
returned to her home. Many another woman has at equal peril to herself
made her complaint and it has fallen upon the deaf ears of officials,
and the poor slave has had to settle with her masters for her

Now we will return to Hong Kong, and to past history. We will cite
just one more case to show something of the reluctance of officials
there to prosecute the traffickers in human flesh. A Chinaman, Tsang
San-Fat, petitioned the Colonial Secretary at Hong Kong in regard to
the custody of his little daughter, whom, "under stress of poverty,"
he had given away to a man named Leung A-Tsit, the October previous,
the understanding being that the latter should find her a husband when
she grew up, and should not send her away to other ports. In May the
parents learned from A-Sin, employed by Leung A-Tsit, that the latter
was going to take away the little girl to another place. After taxing
the man with this, and receiving only excuses in reply, the father
petitioned that Leung A-Tsit should be prevented from carrying out
his design. Leung A-Tsit filed a counter-petition, stating that Tsang
San-Fat, being unable to support a family, handed over to him his
little daughter, aged six years; that the little girl was to become
his daughter and to be brought up by him, he paying $23 to the
parents. He accused the father of trying to extort money from him, and
appealed for "protection" from "impending calamities." Later, further
facts came out, showing that the father of the child had borrowed $5
three years before from Leung A-Tsit, which, with interest at ten
cents per month for every dollar, now amounted to $23. The September
before, his creditor came and demanded payment, and when the father
told him he had no money, and found it very difficult to provide
for his family, Leung A-Tsit said: "Very well, you can give me your
daughter instead, and when she is grown up I will find her a husband."
It was finally agreed that he should have the little girl for $25,
viz., the $23 already owing, and $2 to the mother as "tea-money." The
$2 were paid and he took the child away. The mother said: "I was very
sorry about it and cried." (But mothers have little to say as to the
disposal of the children they bear in the Orient). The Governor, Sir
John Pope Hennessy, took a deep interest in this case, when he heard
of it, regarding it as "an illegal transaction," and urged upon the
Attorney General, Mr. G. Phillipo, to prosecute, on his behalf, the
purchaser of the girl, and that both the father of the child and
Leung A-Tsit be notified that the father was entitled to the child by
British law, and referring the father to the police magistrate.
The police magistrate requested of the Colonial Secretary that
the Attorney General's opinion be obtained, as to what course the
magistrate should pursue. The final outcome of the case is told by
Governor Hennessy in a despatch to the Secretary of State for the

    "I made a minute on the petitions, directing them to be sent to
    the Attorney General, as 'the parties appear to acknowledge being
    concerned in an illegal transaction.' In a few days the papers
    were returned to me with the following opinion of the Attorney
    General: 'The transaction referred to would not be recognized in
    our laws as giving any rights, except perhaps as to guardianship,
    but I am unable to say there is anything illegal in the matter
    beyond that. I do not think it a criminal offence if it goes no
    further than the adoption of a child and the payment of money to
    its parents for the privilege.'"

Later, when His Excellency was calling the attention of Acting
Attorney General Russell to a somewhat similar case, he states, in
reference to this above-described case:

    "Mr. Phillipo, before whom the papers were laid, did not seem
    disposed to enforce the rights of the father, on the ground that
    he had sold the child. I did not agree with Mr. Phillipo's view of
    the law."



On October 6th, 1879, Sir John Smale, the Hon. Chief Justice for Hong
Kong, passed judgment in three cases on prisoners convicted of various
degrees of crime connected with the enticing, detaining, buying and
selling of children. Governor Hennessy, in reporting the remarks made
by the Chief Justice on that occasion to the Secretary of State for
the Colonies, pronounced it "an able and elaborate judgment on the
existence of slavery at Hong Kong."

Said Sir John Smale:

    "Various causes have occasioned delay in passing sentence, of
    which I will only refer to one: The gravity of the fact that these
    and other cases have recently brought so prominently to the notice
    of the Court that two specific classes of slavery exist in this
    Colony to a very great extent, viz., so-called domestic slavery,
    and slavery for the purposes of prostitution. The three cases now
    awaiting the sentence of the Court are specially provided for by
    Ordinances of 1865 and 1872, prohibiting kidnaping and illegally
    detaining men, women, and children; and no difficulty ever arose
    in my mind as to the crimes of which these prisoners are severally
    convicted, or as to the sentences due to such crimes; and there is
    no question as to crimes or punishment of cases where women are
    smuggled into brothels, some licensed and others unlicensed, or
    otherwise dedicated to immoral purposes. But the enormous extent
    to which slavery in this Colony has grown up has called into
    existence a greatly increasing traffic, especially in women and
    children. The number of Chinamen in this Colony has increased and
    is increasing rapidly, whilst their great increase in wealth has
    fostered licentious habits, notably in buying women for purposes
    sanctioned neither by the laws nor customs on the mainland. I hold
    in my hand a placard in Chinese, torn down from the wall of the
    Central School, Cough Street steps, in this city. The translation
    appears at length in the Hong Kong _Daily Press of_ August
    15th, 1879. The purport of that translation is shortly that the
    advertiser, one Cheong, has lost a purchased slave girl named Tai
    Ho, aged 13 years. After a full description of the girl a reward
    is offered in these terms:--'If there is in either of the four
    quarters any worthy man who knows where she is gone to, and will
    send a letter, he will be rewarded with four full weight dollars,
    and the person detaining the slave will be rewarded with fifteen
    full weight dollars.' These words are subsequently added:--'This
    is firm, and the words will not be eaten.' I recently spoke in
    reprobation of slavery from this Bench, and in consequence of my
    remarks a gentleman who tore down this placard gave it to the
    editor of the _Daily Press_, and in a letter in that paper he
    stated that such placards are common, and that he had torn down a
    hundred such placards. Has Cuba or has Peru ever exhibited more
    palpable, more public evidence of the existence of generally
    recognized slavery in these hotbeds of slavery, than such placards
    as the one I now hold in my hand, to prove that slavery exists
    in this Colony? The notices have been posted in a most populous
    neighborhood, and have been in all probability read--they ought
    to have been, they must have been read--by scores of our Chinese

    "Important as this Colony is, politically and commercially, it is
    but a dot in the ocean; its area is about half that of the county
    of Rutland; the circumference of this island is calculated at
    about 27 miles, whilst that of the Isle of Wight is about 56
    miles. The cultivated land on this island may be to the barren
    waste about one-half per cent, and there is no agrarian slavery
    here in nearly the total absence of farms, and on this dot in the
    ocean it is estimated that the slave population has reached ten
    thousand souls! I first became fully alive to the existence of
    so-called domestic slavery in this Colony at the Criminal Sessions
    in May last, on the trial of two cases.... But it is said that
    what is called domestic slavery, as it exists in Hong Kong, is
    mild, and it is said to be the opinion of a gentleman of great
    experience in Chinese, that, as it exists here, it is not contrary
    to the Christian religion, and that it is as general a fashion
    for Chinese ladies in Hong Kong to purchase one or more girls to
    attend on them as it is for English ladies to hire ladies'
    maids, and that the custom is so general that it would be highly
    impolitic, if not impossible, to put down the system. It may be
    that slavery as it exists in the houses of the better classes
    in Hong Kong is mild, and that custom among the better classes
    renders servitude to them a boon as long as it lasts. It is, I
    believe, an admitted duty that when the young girl grows up and
    becomes marriageable she is married; but then it is the custom
    that the husband buys her, and her master receives the price
    always paid for a wife, whilst he has received the girl's services
    for simple maintenance; so that, according to the marriageable
    excess in the price of the bride over the price he paid for the
    girl, he is a gainer, and the purchase of the child produces a
    good return. But the picture has another aspect. What, if the
    master is brutal, or the mistress jealous, becomes of the poor
    girl? Certain recent cases show that she is sold to become a
    prostitute here or at Singapore or in California, a fate often
    worse than death to the girl, at a highly remunerative price to
    the brute, the master. It seems to me that all slavery, domestic,
    agrarian, or for immoral purposes, comes within one and the same

Every word uttered on this occasion by Sir John Smale, Chief Justice,
has value, but it is impossible for us to quote it all. Referring to
the purchase of kidnaped children from the kidnapers by well-to-do
Chinese residents of Hong Kong, without effort on the part of these
purchasers to ascertain from whence the children came, he says:

    "In each of these cases I requested the prosecution of these
    well-to-do persons, purchasers of these human chattels, who had
    bought these children, whose money had occasioned the kidnaping,
    just as a receiver of stolen goods buys stolen property without
    due or any inquiry to verify the patent lies of the vendors. I
    have reason to believe that H.E. the Governor was desirous that my
    request should, if proper, be complied with; but on reference to
    former cases it appeared that a former Attorney-General had found
    that the system had been almost if not altogether unchecked for
    many years past, and that in particular, when His Excellency had
    desired to enforce the rights of a father to recover his child, he
    was not disposed to enforce that right because the father had sold
    that child."

He relates the details of yet another case concerning which he says:
"I took the responsibility to direct the Acting Attorney General to
prosecute this man and his wife." But the Attorney General, it seems,
did not.

"Is it possible that such a being as man can, according to law ...
become a slave even by his own consent?" asks the Chief Justice.
"I say it is impossible in law, as Sir R. Phillimore, 1 Phill.,
International Law, vol. 1, p. 316, has said in a passage I read with
the most respectful concurrence, but too long for full quotation." "It
is unnecessary for me to trace how it became the Common Law of England
that whosoever breathes the air of England cannot be a slave." After
reference to notable decisions on the part of England's highest
authorities as to the unlawfulness of slavery; to the claim that
slavery was secured to the Chinese residents by the promise not to
interfere with their customs, and reminding his hearers that the
promise was made only "pending Her Majesty's pleasure"; after quoting
the Queen's proclamation against slavery at Hong Kong, and the
assurance in that proclamation that "these Acts will be enforced by
all Her Majesty's officers, civil and military, within this Colony,"
he asks:

    "Have all Her Majesty's officers, civil and military, enforced
    these Acts within this Colony? I think they have not; I confess I
    have not. Our excuse has been in the difficulty of enforcing these
    Acts, but mainly in our ignorance of the extent of the evil. What
    is our duty, now that we know that slavery in its worst as in its
    best form exists in this dot in the ocean to the extent of say
    10,000 slaves,--a number probably unexceeded within the same space
    at any time under the British Crown, and, so far as I believe, the
    only spot where British law prevails in which slavery in any form
    exists at the present time?"

Then he deals with the pretext that this slavery is Chinese custom,
in words we have already quoted in the first chapter of this book. He
passes on to consider and affirm the propriety of the Chief Justice
directing the Attorney General to prosecute these cases, and answers
some of the objections raised by the latter officer, concluding this
portion of his remarks with the words: "What I have said has been
said to meet arguments, doubts, and difficulties which have paralyzed
public opinion and public action here; which arguments, doubts and
difficulties are the less easy to combat because they have been rather
hinted at than avowed."

The Chief Justice then sentenced several prisoners for enticing,
kidnaping or detaining children with intent to sell them into slavery,
to penal servitude for terms ranging from 18 months to 2 years.

On October 20th, Sir John Smale wrote the Governor:

    "I cannot understand why such classes should as classes increase
    in this Colony at all, unless it be that (in addition to the
    Chinese demand for domestic servants and brothels) there be an
    increased foreign element increasing the demand. I fear that a
    high premium is obtained by persons who kidnap girls in the high
    prices which they realize on sale to foreigners as kept women.[A]
    No one can walk through some of the bye-streets in this Colony
    without seeing well dressed China girls in great numbers whose
    occupations are self-proclaimed; or pass those streets, or go into
    the schools in this Colony, without counting beautiful children
    by the hundred whose Eurasian origin is self-declared. If the
    Government would inquire into the present condition of these
    classes, and still more, into what has become of these women and
    their children of the past, I believe that it will be found that
    in the great majority of cases the women have sunk into misery,
    and that of the children the girls that have survived have been
    sold to the profession of their mothers, and that, if boys, they
    have been lost sight of or have sunk into the condition of the
    mean whites of the late slave-holding states of America. The more
    I penetrate below the polished surface of our civilization the
    more convinced am I that the broad undercurrent of life here is
    more like that in the Southern States of America, when slavery
    was dominant, than it resembles the all-pervading civilization of
    England." "My suggestion that the mild intervention of the law
    should be invoked was ignored. It was also met by the assertion
    that custom had so sanctioned the evils in this Colony as that
    they are above the reach of the law, and that by custom the
    slavery was mild."

[Footnote A: Rather, it would seem in later years, by renting them for
a monthly stipend.]

The Governor, in a letter to the Colonial Secretary at London about
this time, informs the Colonial Secretary of his own failure also to
induce the Attorney General to prosecute cases to which His Excellency
had called his attention, and furthermore he explains that other
of his principal executive officers held to the same views as the
Attorney General.



We get additional and valuable light on social conditions at Hong
Kong, through statements drawn up by prominent Chinese men and laid
before the Governor. As a representation from the Chinese standpoint
it has peculiar value at all points excepting where self-interest
might afford a motive for coloring the truth.

The occasion of these statements was as follows: On November 9, 1878,
a month before the report of the Commission was published, certain
Chinese merchants had petitioned the Governor to be allowed to form
themselves into a society for suppressing kidnaping and trafficking
in human beings. This petition states that the worst kidnapers are
"go-betweens and old women who have houses for the detention of
kidnaped people." They declare that these

    "inveigle virtuous women or girls to come to Hong Kong, at first
    deceiving them by the promise of finding them employment (as
    domestic servants), and then proceeding to compel them by force
    to become prostitutes, or exporting them to a foreign port, or
    distribute them by sale over the different ports of China, boys
    being sold to become adopted children, girls being sold to be
    trained for prostitution." "Your petitioners are of opinion
    that such wicked people are to be found belonging to any of the
    [neighboring] districts, but in our district of Tung Kun such
    cases of kidnaping are comparatively frequent, and all the
    merchants of Hong Kong, without exception, are expressing their

Accompanying the petition was a statement of the situation:

    "Hong Kong is the emporium and thoroughfare of all the neighboring
    ports. Therefore these kidnapers frequent Hong Kong much, it being
    a place where it is easy to buy and to sell, and where effective
    means are at hand to make good a speedy escape. Now, the laws
    of Hong Kong being based on the principle of the liberty of the
    person, the kidnapers take advantage of this to further their own
    plans. Thus they use with their victims honeyed speeches, and give
    them trifling profits, or they use threats and stern words, all in
    order to induce them to say they are willing to do so and so. Even
    if they are confronted with witnesses it is difficult to show up
    their wicked game.... Kidnaping is a crime to be found everwhere,
    but there is no place where it is more rife than at Hong Kong....
    Now it is proposed to publish everywhere offers of reward to track
    such kidnapers and have them arrested.... The crimes of kidnaping
    are increasing from day to day."

This proposal on the part of Chinese merchants to form such a society
was cordially accepted by officials, and the Governor requested that
two police magistrates, whom he named, the Captain Superintendent of
Police and Dr. Eitel, should draw up a scheme to check kidnaping, in
concert with the Chinese petitioners. This committee met, and decided
that the objects of the "Chinese Society for the Protection of Women
and Children" should he as follows:

    1. The detection and suppression of kidnapers and kidnaping. 2.
    The restoration to their homes of women and children decoyed
    or kidnaped for prostitution, emigration, or slavery. 3. The
    maintenance of women and children pending investigation and
    restoration to their homes. 4. Undertaking to marry or set out in
    life women and children who could not safely be returned home.

At a subsequent meeting of these gentlemen, Mr. Francis, Acting Police
Magistrate, asked the Chinese merchants present, "If there was of late
any special _modus operandi_ observed in the proceedings of kidnapers
differing from what had been observed and known formerly?" To this
the Chinese gentlemen present replied that "there was indeed a marked
difference observable in the proceedings of kidnapers of late, because
they had become acquainted with the loopholes British law leaves open,
also with the principle of personal freedom jealously guarded by
British law, and that through this knowledge their proceedings had
not only become less tangible for the police to deal with, but
the kidnapers had been emboldened to give themselves a definite
organization, following a regular system adapted to the peculiarities
of British and Chinese law, and using regular resorts and depots in
the suburbs of Hong Kong." In support of this, Mr. Fung Ming-shan laid
on the table two documents written in Chinese. One of these contained
a list of 38 different houses in the neighborhood of Sai-ying-pim and
Tai-ping-shan used by professional kidnapers, whose names are given,
but whose residence could not be ascertained. The other document
consists of a list of 41 professional kidnapers whose personalia have
been satisfactorily ascertained.

The foreign Magistrates present then pointed out to the Chinese
members of the meeting that one great difficulty the Government
frequently met in dealing with such cases was the question, what to do
with women or children found to have been unlawfully sold or kidnaped;
how to restore them to their lawful guardians in the interior of
China; how to provide for them in case such women or children had
actually been sold by their very guardians, who, if the woman or child
in question were restored to them, would but seek another purchaser;
how to deal with persons absolutely friendless, etc. The Chinese
members of the meeting replied that they were prepared to undertake
this duty. They would employ trustworthy detectives to ascertain the
family relations of any kidnaped person, who would see to such persons
being restored to their families upon guarantee being given for proper
treatment; and in cases where restoration was impossible or not
advisable, they would take charge of such kidnaped persons, maintain
them, and eventually see them respectably married. It was then decided
that the Magistrates present should draw up a succinct statement of
the provisions of the British law forbidding the sale of persons and
guaranteeing the liberty of the subject, which should be translated
into Chinese, and circulated freely in the neighboring districts.

Although the action on the part of the Chinese merchants in forming
themselves into an organization to put down kidnaping was received
with much appreciation by the Governor and Secretary of State at
London, as well as by many of the officials at Hon' Kong, there were
those who from the first doubted whether the motives of the Chinese in
thus uniting were wholly disinterested on the part of the majority.
Such were confirmed in their doubts by the action of these same
Chinese as soon as Sir John Smale set to work in earnest to
exterminate slavery, and declared in his court a year later than the
formation of this Chinese Society:

    "I was given to understand that buying children by respectable
    Chinamen as servants was according to Chinese customs, and that to
    attempt to put it down would be to arouse the prejudices of the
    Chinese.... Humanity is of no party, and personal liberty is to be
    held the right of every human being under British law.... Whatever
    the law of China may be, the law of England must prevail here. If
    Chinamen are willing to submit to the law, they may remain, but
    on condition of obeying the law, whether it accords with their
    notions of right or wrong or not; and if remaining they act
    contrary to the law, they must take the consequences."

Sir John Smale's utterance created intense feeling among these Chinese
merchants, who at once called upon the Governor to represent their
views and to protest. The Governor informed them that "slavery in any
form could not be allowed in the Colony." They protested that their
system of adoption and of obtaining girls for domestic purposes was
not slavery; "and they referred to the more immoral practice of buying
girls for the Hong Kong brothels, which, they alleged, Government
departments had connived at, though it was a practice most hateful to
the respectable Chinese." The Governor then asked them for their views
in writing, and they sent them to him in the form of a memorial,
containing the following words:

    "Your petitioners are informed that his Lordship, the Chief
    Justice, after the trial of a case of purchasing free persons for
    prostitution, said, in the course of his judgment, that buying
    and selling of girls for domestic servitude was an indictable
    offense;--which put all native residents of Hong Kong in a state
    of extreme terror; all great merchants and wealthy residents in
    the first instance being afraid lest they might incur the risk of
    being found guilty of a statutory offence, whilst the poor and low
    class people, in the second instance, feared being deprived of a
    means to preserve their lives (by selling children to be domestic

These petitioners claimed:

    That the buying of boys for "adoption" and of girls for domestic
    servitude, "widely differs from the above-mentioned wicked
    practices" of kidnaping and buying and selling of girls into

    That the domestic slaves "are allowed to take their ease and have
    no hard work to perform," and when they grow up, "they have to be
    given in marriage."

    That all former Governors had let them alone in the exercise of
    their "social customs."

    That Governor Elliott had promised them freedom in the exercise of
    their native customs.

    That infanticide "would be extremely increased if it were entirely
    forbidden to dispose of children by buying and selling;" parents
    deprived of the means of keeping off starvation by selling their
    children would "drift into thiefdom and brigandage."

Following the petition was an elaborate statement on the subject,
full of subtle arguments, misstatements and perversions, together, of
course, with some well-put statements, forming ten propositions in
favor of domestic slavery. Their first claim is not exactly true, as
even Dr. Eitel, who defended domestic servitude, was bound to declare,
namely, That Chinese law does not forbid adoption and domestic
servitude. We have already quoted Sir John Smale's statement of the
Chinese law, which restricted the adoption of boys to the taking of
one with the same surname as the family. And as to the buying of girls
for domestic servitude, though largely _practiced_ in China, yet these
Chinese merchants could hardly have been ignorant of the fact that it
was an _illegality_ before the Chinese law. "The reason of this," says
the Chinese protest, "is the excessive increase of population, and
the wide extent of poverty and distress." But there was neither
over-population nor distress at Hong Kong which should necessitate the
introduction of the practice into that Colony. "If all those practices
were forbidden, poor and distressed people would have no means left
to save their lives, but would be compelled to sit down and wait for
death." In other words, these men would claim that their motives were
wholly, or largely benevolent in purchasing the children of the poor!
And what better could the poor do for a living than to beget children
and sell them into slavery to the rich!

"Whilst all those practices, therefore, may be classed together
as buying and selling (of free persons), it is yet requisite to
distinguish carefully the good or wicked purposes which each class of
practice serve, and accordingly apply discriminately either punishment
or non-punishment." But anti-slavery legislation has never done this,
and never will. The question is not to any large extent the comfort or
misery of the chattel, but the forbidding that one human being should
be allowed to deal with another _as a chattel_ at all.

This attitude of the Chinese merchants who allied themselves with the
British officials for the Protection of Women and Children gave no
omen of good from the very first. Yet from that day to the present
these men have had a large share in the government of the native
women of Hong Kong and Singapore, rendering it very difficult ever
to elevate the standard of womanhood, or to educate Chinese women in
principles that should be the common inheritance of all who live in a
so called free country.

The statement continues:

    "Since the last few years many Chinese have brought their
    property, wives and families to the place, supposing they would
    be able to live here in peace, and to rejoice in their property.
    ...Chinese residents of Hong Kong have, therefore, been in
    the habit of following all native customs which were not a
    contravention of Chinese statute law [but it seems _this sort_ of
    buying and selling of human beings is contrary to Chinese law.
    This is a misrepresentation]. It is said that the whole increase
    and prosperity of the Colony from its first foundation to the
    present day is all based on the strength of that invitation which
    Sir Charles Elliott gave to intending settlers, and that this
    present intention of applying, all of a sudden, the repressive
    force of the law to both the practice of buying or selling boys or
    girls for purposes of adoption or for domestic servitude is not
    only a violation of the rule of Sir Charles Elliott, but moreover
    will, it is to be feared, not fail to trouble the people."

They speak of infanticide as an evil that

    "must be classed with evils almost unavoidable. Now if the buying
    of adoptive children and of servant girls is to be uniformly
    abolished, it is to be feared that henceforth the practice of
    infanticide will extremely increase beyond what it ever was. The
    heinousness of the violation of the great Creator's benevolence,
    which constitutes infanticide, is beyond comparison with the
    indulgence granted to the system of buying and selling children to
    prolong their existence."

As though these benevolent persons only bought slaves for this one
laudable purpose, to preserve their lives! "As regards the buyers,
they look upon themselves as affording relief to distressed people,
and consider the matter as an act akin to charity," etc.

A flood of light is let in upon the matter of the reluctance of
British officials to move in the putting down of domestic slavery and
the buying and selling of boys among the natives, in the following
well-deserved thrust at the weak point in the armor of the British

    "The office of the Registrar-General was charged with the
    superintendence of prostitutes and the licensing of brothels
    and similar affairs. But _from 80 to 90 per cent of all these
    prostitutes in Hong Kong were brought into these brothels by
    purchase, as is well known to everybody_. If buying and selling is
    a matter of a criminal character, the proper thing would be, first
    of all, to abolish this evil (brothel slavery). But how comes
    it that since the first establishment of the Colony down to the
    present day the same old practice prevails in these licensed
    brothels, and has never been forbidden or abolished?"

This was a center shot, and calculated to weaken the hands of at
least the guilty officials. What could they say? Were the officials
prepared, since the report of the Commission a few months before had
made public the scandals connected with the licensing and inspection
of brothels, to set about reforming the abuses by radical measures?
Certainly the Chief Justice was. He did everything in his power to
abolish slavery _as slavery_, not simply to abolish slavery when
unconnected with brothels. But subsequent history seems to indicate
that, from this point on, the British officials were ready to
compromise with the Chinese merchants, and the testimony from this
time forward was well-nigh universal in Hong Kong circles that
domestic slavery, or "domestic servitude," as Dr. Eitel recommended
that it should be called instead (since a weed by another name
may help the imagination to think it a rose), was very "mild" and
"harmless," and that the adoption of purchased boys was a "religious"
duty, or at least, had a religious flavor about it, as practiced by
the Chinese. But as we have already said, that adoption in order to be
lawful in China must be the adoption of one of the same surname.

On October 27th, 1879, the Chief Justice, at an adjourned sitting
of the Court for the purpose, sentenced two more offenders, one for
kidnaping a boy, and the other for detaining a girl with intent to
sell her. In the first case the Judge said:

    "Received as you had been into the father's house in charity, you
    availed yourself of the opportunity to steal his child, and tried
    to sell the child openly, probably having hawked him from door to
    door. The sentence of the Court on you, Tang Atim, is that you be
    imprisoned and kept to hard labor for two years, and that you be
    kept in solitary confinement for a period of one week in every two
    months of your imprisonment."

Chan Achit, an old woman, convicted of having unlawfully detained a
female child of 11 years of age, with intent to sell her, was next
placed in the dock. His Lordship said:

    "The evidence in this case has shown the extraordinary extent to
    which, under cloak of China custom, the iniquity of dealing in
    children has extended. From the evidence, I have no doubt that a
    vagabond clansman to whom the father had occasionally given out of
    his penury had originated the crime in enticing the child away,
    and it seems to me to be clear that the prisoner was as well known
    as a 'broker of mankind' as a receiver of stolen children, to sell
    them on commission, as receivers of old iron and marine stores
    could be found in this Colony to dispose of stolen property. The
    little girl bought and sold, aged 11 years, is a very intelligent
    child, and described the negotiations for her sale with great

The Chief Justice then went on to repeat the little girl's testimony
as to these "brokers of mankind," and the child's knowledge, from
personal observation of these purchases and sales, to which he adds:

    "Let me here ask, Is the trade, or rather profession, 'broker of
    mankind,' also a sacred China custom? I will not ask the queries
    which would naturally arise in case the question were answered in
    the affirmative. At present, however, I must say that, custom
    or no custom, the practice of this profession is prohibited by
    statute, and it is my duty to meet its exercise by punishment."

The prisoner was sentenced to two years' penal servitude. The Chief
Justice concluded his remarks on that occasion by replying to the
statements made in the Chinese petition.

He called attention to the Chinese resting their claim on the
temporary promise of Governor Elliott in 1841; of the fact that
they ignored the proclamation of the Queen in 1845. He said that
infanticide was also a Chinese custom in the same sense that slavery
was, on the words of the petition:

    "Amongst the Chinese there has hitherto been the custom of
    drowning their daughters. The Chinese threaten the increase of
    this 'custom' of drowning children if their sale is put down....
    I can only say that in case father, mother, or relative were
    convicted of infanticide, Chinese custom would be no protection,
    and, unless I am grievously mistaken, the presiding judge would
    have no alternative but to sentence the perpetrator to death ...
    the one custom is tolerated just as the other custom is tolerated,
    and both alike or neither must be claimed as sanctioned by
    Governor Elliott's proclamation. All remedies which ever existed
    by common law or by statute in England up to 1845 against
    ownership of human beings, against every form of slavery, extend
    by their own proper force and authority to Hong Kong; and, if
    that were not enough, all English laws applicable to Hong Kong,
    including those against ownership in human beings, were by express
    Ordinances 6 of 1845, and 12 of 1873, embodied into the laws
    of Hong Kong, whilst the worst forms of slavery are especially
    punished by Ordinance 4 of 1865, and 2 of 1875. I am bound by
    my most solemn obligations to enforce all these laws. I must,
    therefore, without fear, favour or affection, discharge this duty
    to the best of my ability."



The Report of the Commission affords the following instructive
account of the difference in the moral and social status between the
prostitute of the East and West:

    "In approaching the subject of prostitution, as it is found in
    Hong Kong at the present day, it is absolutely necessary for a
    full and just comprehension of it, to keep in mind two distinct
    considerations. One is the almost total identity of the whole
    system of prostitution, which since times immemorial is an
    established institution all over the large empire of China. The
    other point to be kept in mind is the radical difference
    which distinguishes the personal character, the life and the
    surroundings of Chinese prostitutes from all that is
    characteristic of the prostitutes of Europe." ... "At the present
    day the Chinese prostitutes of Hong Kong have but very little to
    distinguish them, either in the past, present, or future of their
    personal lives, or in their position and surroundings, from
    the prostitutes of the 18 provinces of China.... Those of the
    prostitutes of Hong Kong who are inmates of brothels licensed for
    foreigners only, or who live in sly brothels for foreigners,
    have adopted a different style of dress, but are otherwise in no
    essential point differently situated from prostitutes in China,
    except that the inmates of brothels licensed for foreigners are
    subject to compulsory medical examination, and consequently far
    more despised by their countrymen and even other prostitutes."

    "Prostitutes in Europe are, as a general rule, fallen women,
    the victims of seduction, or possibly of innate vice. Being the
    outcasts of society, and having little, if any, prospect of being
    again admitted into decent and respectable circles of life,
    deprived also of their own self-respect as well as the regards
    of their relatives, occasionally even troubled with qualms of
    conscience, they mostly dread thinking of their future, and seek
    oblivion in excesses of boisterous dissipation. The Chinese
    prostitutes of Hong Kong are an entirely different set of
    people.... Very few of them can be called fallen women; scarcely
    any of them are the victims of seduction, according to the English
    sense of the term, refined or unrefined. The great majority of
    them are owned by professional brothel-keepers or traders in women
    in Canton or Macao, have been brought up for the profession, and
    trained in various accomplishments suited to brothel life.... They
    frequently know neither father nor mother, except what they call
    a 'pocket-mother,' that is, the woman who bought them from
    others.... They feel of course that they are the bought property
    of their pocket-mother or keeper, but they know also that this is
    the feeling of almost every other woman in China, liable as each
    is to be sold, by her own parents or relatives, to be the wife or
    concubine of a man she never sets eyes on before the wedding day,
    or liable, as the case may be, to be pledged or sold, by her
    parents or relatives, to serve as a domestic slave in a strange
    family.... They have the chance, if they are pretty and
    accomplished, of being wooed ... and they may look forward with
    tolerable certainty to being made the second, or third, or fourth,
    or at any rate the favorite wife of some wealthy gentleman. If
    not possessed of special attractions or wealthy lovers, they look
    forward to being taken out of the brothel by an honest devoted man
    to share the lot of a poor man's wife. Or they may endeavor to
    save money by singing, music and prostitution combined, and not
    only to purchase their freedom, but to set up for themselves,
    buying, rearing, and selling girls to act as servants or
    concubines or prostitutes, or they may finally come to keep
    brothels as managers for wealthy capitalists or speculators. There
    is further a certain proportion of prostitutes in Hong Kong who
    have, by the hand of their own parents or husbands, been mortgaged
    or sold into temporary servitude as prostitutes, or who of their
    own will and accord act as prostitutes under personal agreement
    with a brothel-keeper, for a definite advance of a sum of money,
    required to rescue the family, or some member of it, from some
    great calamity or permanent ruin."

    "There is, however, one class of women in Hong Kong who can
    scarcely be called prostitutes, and who have no parallel either in
    China, outside the Treaty Ports, or in Europe. They are generally
    called 'protected women.' They may originally have come forth from
    one or other of the above-mentioned classes of prostitutes, or may
    be the offspring of protected women...."

The Report describes the situation of the "protected woman" in the
following terms:

    "She resides in a house rented by her protector, who lives
    generally in another part of the town; she receives a fixed salary
    from her protector, and sublets every available room to individual
    sly prostitutes, or to women keeping a sly brothel, no visitor
    being admitted unless he have some introduction or secret
    pass-words. If an inspector of brothels attempts to enter, he
    is quietly informed that this is not a brothel, but the private
    family residence of Mr. So and So.... This system makes the
    suppression of sly brothels an impossibility.... The principal
    points of difference between the various classes of Chinese
    prostitutes of Hong Kong and the prostitutes of Europe amount
    therefore to this, that Chinese prostitution is essentially
    a bargain in money and based on a national system of female

    "It must not be supposed, however, from what is said above, that
    the Chinese, as a people, view prostitution as a matter of moral
    indifference. On the contrary, the literature, the religions,
    the laws and the public opinion of China, all join in condemning
    prostitution as immoral, and in co-operation to keep it under a
    certain check. The literature of the Confucianists, which, as
    regards purity and utter absence of immoral suggestions, stands
    unrivalled by any other nation in the world, does not countenance
    prostitution in any form.... The laws and public opinion ... agree
    in keeping prostitution rigidly out of sight. Although the Chinese
    are a Pagan nation, they have no deification of vice in their
    temples, no indecent shows in their theatres, no orgies in their
    houses of public entertainment, no parading of lewd women in their
    streets.... In short, as far as outward and public observation
    goes, China presents a more virtuous appearance than most European

The report goes on to show that nevertheless the practice of polygamy,

    "leaving the childless concubines liable to be sold or sent adrift
    at any moment, the law of inheritance neglecting daughters in
    favour of sons," and "the universal practice of buying and selling
    females combined with the system of domestic servitude," makes
    the suppression of prostitution difficult. "This intermixture of
    female slavery with prostitution has been noticed in Hong Kong at
    the very time when the Legislature first attempted to deal with
    Chinese prostitution."

We now understand the nature of this wretched form of slavery as
carried on at Hong Kong. There did not exist a class of women brought
to the pitiable plight of prostitution by the wiles of the seducer, or
through the mishap of a lapse from virtue, after which all doors
to reform are practically closed against such, as in Western
civilization, nor were there those known to have fallen through innate
perversity; but such as existed among the Chinese were literal
slaves, in the full sense of that word. From the standpoint of these
officials, for the most part, prostitution was necessary. This was
plainly declared in many official documents. The fact that they
licensed brothels proves also that prostitution was considered
necessary. And since necessary, if the means failed whereby brothels
in the Occident are maintained, then they must be maintained by
Oriental means,--which was slavery. Under such circumstances, to
license prostitution meant, from the very nature of the case, to
license slavery. To encourage prostitution, as it always is encouraged
by the Contagious Diseases Acts, meant to encourage slavery. Hence
they reasoned, and declared--to use the language of the Registrar
General, Cecil C. Smith--that it was "useless to try and deal with
the question of the freedom of Chinese prostitutes by law or by
any Government regulation. From all the surroundings the thing is

It must be admitted that the conditions at Hong Kong favored the
development of social impurity. From the moment of British occupation,
and before, in fact, there were at that place large numbers of
unmarried soldiers and sailors, many of very loose morals; also
many men in civil and military positions as officials, and numerous
merchants, etc., most of them separated far from their families and
the restraints that surrounded them at home. On the Chinese side,
there were men accustomed to deal with their women as chattels,
willing to sell them to the foreigners.

But we need to inquire a little further into the matter before
conceding that because a thing will almost inevitably take place,
therefore it is best to license it in order to keep it within bounds.
The superficial sophist says: "Prostitution always has existed and
always will exist. Painful as the fact is, such is the frailty of
human nature. You cannot make men moral by act of parliament, and it
is foolish to try. We will have to license the thing, and thus control
it as best we can. That is the only practical way to deal with this
evil." Such reasoning as this exhibits the most confused notions as to
the nature of law.

No law is ever enacted except with the expectation that an offense
against it will take place. Law anticipates transgression as much as
license; but law provides a _check_ upon offenses and license provides
an _incitement_ to them. "The law was not made for a righteous man,
but for the lawless and disobedient." Have not murder and stealing
always existed? Are they not likely to exist in spite of laws against
them, so long as human nature remains so frail? Then why not license
_them_ in order to keep _them_ under control? It is perfectly apparent
to all that to license murder and stealing; would be the surest way of
allowing them to get quickly beyond control. "But you cannot make men
moral by act of parliament, and it is foolish to try; to put a man in
jail will not change him from a thief into an honest man." "But," you
reply, "we do not punish men for stealing and for murder for their own
good, but for the good of the community at large." Certainly. Then
what becomes of the argument that because men will not become pure by
act of parliament they are to be allowed to commit their depredations
unmolested? The primary object of law is not reformatory but
protective,--for the victims of lawlessness.

Our great Law-Giver, Jesus Christ, admitted a certain necessity of
evil, but He did not say, "therefore license it, to keep it within
bounds." He said, "It _must needs be_ that offenses come." But His
remedy for keeping the offenses within bounds was, "woe to that man by
whom the offense cometh." As inevitably as the offense was committed
so invariably must the punishment fall on the offender's head. That
is the only way to keep any evil within bounds. This is the principle
that underlies all law.

These Hong Kong officials who believed in the licensing of brothel
slavery and brought it about, have much to say about the "unfortunate
creatures" who were the victims of men. But if the advocate of license
is self-deceived in his attitude toward this social evil, we need not
be deceived in him. One does not propose a license as a remedy for an
evil, except as led to that view by secret sympathy with the evil.
A license of an evil is never proposed excepting upon the mental
acquiescence in that evil.

British officials who licensed immoral houses at Hong Kong did not
wish the libertine to be disturbed in his depredations. The Chinese
merchants were able to see this fact if those officials were not ready
to admit it even to themselves. They knew how to throw a stone that
would secure their own glass houses. Hence they said in their memorial
to the Governor:

    "From 80 to 90 per cent of all these prostitutes in Hong Kong were
    brought into these [licensed] brothels by purchase, as is well
    known to everybody. If buying and selling is a matter of criminal
    character the proper thing would be first of all, to abolish this
    evil (connected with the brothels). But how comes it that since
    the first establishment of the Colony down to the present day the
    same old practice prevails in these licensed brothels, and has
    never been forbidden or abolished?"

It is to be noted that none of the officials at Hong Kong accused the
Chinese merchants of slander in saying that from 80 to 90 per cent of
the thousands of prostitutes in the Colony were absolute slaves. The
Government was placed in a very awkward position by this challenge on
the part of the Chinese. How could a Government that held slaves in
its licensed brothels forbid Chinese residents holding slaves in their
homes? But the Governor did not propose to be compromised. He wrote to
the Secretary of State at London: "I believe I only anticipate your
instructions, in giving orders that the law, whatever may be the
consequences to the brothel system, should be strictly enforced so as
to secure the freedom of the women." But he reckoned without his host.
The Secretary of State did not stand by the Governor. So far as the
records show, the Governor and Chief Justice stood alone, his entire
Executive Council taking the opposing side. What was to be done?



Consistency demanded that either the brothel system at Hong Kong
should be abolished, or domestic slavery and so-called "adoption"
should be tolerated. No other courses were open. In his perplexity,
the Governor asked his learned Chinese interpreter, Dr. Eitel, to give
him further light as to this domestic slavery and "adoption" prevalent
among the Chinese. This request was granted in a document entitled
"Domestic servitude in relation to slavery." Dr. Eitel's main points

    Slavery as known to the Westerner "has always been an incident of
    race." "Slavery, therefore, has such a peculiar meaning ... that
    one ought to hesitate before applying the term rashly" to Chinese
    domestic slavery. Slavery in China grows out of the fact that the
    father has all power, even to death, over his family. The father,
    on the other hand, "has many duties as well as rights." Therefore
    his power over his family "is not a mark of tyranny, but of
    religious unity." "Few foreigners have comprehended the extent of
    social equality, ... the amount of influence which woman, bought
    and sold as she is, really has in China,... the depth of domestic
    affection, of filial piety, of paternal care." "To deal justly
    with the slavery of China, we ought to invent another name for
    it." "The law, although sanctioning the sale of children for
    purposes of adoption within each clan, and even without, is here
    in advance of public opinion, as it expressly allows, by an edict,
    ... the sale of children only to extremely poor people in times
    of famine, and forbids even in that case re-sale of a child once

This last admission on the part of Dr. Eitel, a fact already pointed
out by Sir John Smale, seems to us to clearly demonstrate that a
pretext was now being sought to justify at Hong Kong a state of things
as to slavery that the laws of China forbade and which in no wise
could be justified as Chinese "custom." "The reason for this immense
demand for young female domestics lies in the system of polygamy which
obtains all over the empire, and which has a religious basis." By this
he means that it is from the Chinese standpoint a religious duty for
a father to leave a son, upon his death, to continue the family
sacrifices. Therefore if the father has no son by his first wife, he
will "take a second or third or fourth wife until he procures a son."
"A family being in urgent distress, and requiring immediately a
certain sum of money, take one of their female children, say five
years old ... to a wealthy family, where the child becomes a member of
the family, and has, perhaps, to look after a baby.... But the child
may be sold out and out. In that case invariably a deed is drawn up."
And this is the state of things concerning which Dr. Eitel says: "Few
foreigners have comprehended the extent of social equality ... the
amount of influence which woman, bought and sold as she is, really
has in China ... the depth of domestic affection, of filial piety, of
parental care," etc.

He adds:

    "Considering the deep hold which this system has on the Chinese
    people, it is not to be wondered at that Chinese can scarcely
    comprehend how an English judge could come to designate this
    species of domestic servitude as 'slavery.' On the contrary,
    intelligent Chinese look upon this system as the necessary and
    indispensable complement of polygamy, as an excellent counter
    remedy for the deplorably wide-spread system of infanticide, and
    as the natural consequence of the chronic occurrence of famines,
    inundations, and rebellions in an over-populated country. But the
    abuses to which this system of buying and selling female children
    is liable, in the hands of unscrupulous parents and buyers, and
    the support it lends to public prostitution, are too patent facts
    to require pointing out."

    "The moment we examine closely into Chinese slavery and
    servitude," declares Dr. Eitel, "from the standpoint of history
    and sociology, we find that slavery and servitude have, with
    the exception of the system of eunuchs, lost all barbaric and
    revolting features." (!) "As this organism has had its certain
    natural evolution, it will as certainly undergo in due time a
    natural dissolution, which in fact has at more than one point
    already set in. But no legislative or executive measures taken in
    Hong Kong will hasten this process, which follows its own course
    and its own laws laid down by a wise Providence which happily
    overrules for the good all that is evil in the world."

There was, indeed, a certain justice in defending the Chinese as
against the foreigner, on Dr. Eitel's part. But two wrongs do not make
a right. From this time onward, the word of sophistry is put in
the mouth of the advocate of domestic slavery, just as the word of
sophistry had been put in the mouth of the advocate of the Contagious
Diseases Ordinance. Mr. Labouchere had spoken of the latter as a means
of protection' for the poor slaves, and the expression, 'protection,'
has been kept prominently to the front ever since Dr. Eitel suggested,
likewise, not a change in the conditions, but a change in the name by
which they were known. Let it be called 'domestic _servitude_' instead
of 'domestic _slavery_.' All the advocates of this domestic slavery
from that time have called the noxious weed by the sweeter name.

Governor Hennessey asked the opinion of others of his officials. One
Acting Police Magistrate replied 'When the servant girls (or slaves
girls, as some prefer to term them) in the families in this Colony are
contented with their lot, and their parents do not claim them, the
police cannot be expected to interfere.' Another said 'Buying and
selling children by the Chinese has been considered a harmless
proceeding, its only effect being to place the purchaser under a legal
and moral obligation to provide for the child until the seller chose
to repudiate the bargain, which he could always do under English law.'

The Attorney General, Mr. O'Malley, when asked (at a later period) his
opinion as to the utterances Sir John Smale had made from time to time
on the subject of slavery, replied to the Governor

    "With regard to Sir John Smale's observation, I know that
    difficulties national, social, official and financial beset the
    Government in reference to the special questions I have raised,
    I have only to observe that I have never heard of those
    difficulties. My own impression is that the respectable parts
    of the community, Chinese as well as European, including the
    Government and the police, are fully alive to the brothel and
    domestic servitude systems, and as well informed as Sir John Smale
    himself as to the real facts. One would suppose from the tone
    of his pamphlet that he stood alone in his perception and
    denunciation of evil. But I believe the fact is that the Executive
    and the community generally are quite as anxious is he is to
    insist upon practical precautions necessary to prevent the abuses,
    and to diminish the evils naturally connected with these systems,
    but they look for this to practical securities and not to
    declamation. The obvious line of practical suggestions to take is
    that of careful registration and constant inspection of brothels,
    so that full and frequent opportunity may be given to all persons
    whose freedom may be open to suspicion to know their legal
    position, and to assert their liberty if they like ...
    Particularly it might be thought right to create a system of
    registration applicable to domestic servants and strangers in
    family houses. It would be a good thing if Sir John Smale would
    place at the disposal of the Government (as I believe he has never
    yet done) any facts connected with the brothel system or the
    domestic servitude of which he possesses any real knowledge."

This letter gives us some conception of the almost insuperable
difficulties Sir John Smale had to encounter in his endeavor to put
down slavery, for not a case could come up in the Superior Court for
conviction on the Judge's information, of course, for that would
be assuming both prosecuting and judicial powers, and the men who
occupied in turn that office, during Sir John Smale's incumbency,
refused to act in unison with him, and this Attorney General's
language betrays hot prejudice, lack of candor as regarded the facts,
and insolence toward Sir John Smale.

The Attorney General has a fling at the Chief Justice as
"impracticable," yet the only practical suggestion that the former
makes in his letter as to how to meet the conditions he seems to have
taken from Sir John Smale's own words upon which he was asked to
express an opinion. The Chief Justice had said:

    "I think the evils complained of might be lessened,--(1) By a
    better registration of the inmates of brothels, and by frequently
    bringing them before persons to whom they might freely speak as to
    their position and wishes, and by such authoritative interference
    with the brothel-keepers as should keep them well in fear of
    exercising acts of tyranny. (2) By a stringently enforced register
    of all inmates of Chinese dwelling-houses, &c., (at least of all
    servants) with full inquiry into the conditions of servitude, and
    an authoritative restoration of unwilling servants to freedom from
    servitude. This would apply to 10,000 (according to Dr. Eitel
    20,000) bond servants in Hong Kong."

The injustice of the attack of the Attorney General upon Sir John
Smale was not ignored by Governor Hennessy, when he forwarded Mr.
O'Malley's letter to London. He said:

    "The apparent difference between Mr. O'Malley's views on brothel
    slavery and the views of Sir John Smale is due to the fact that
    Sir John Smale knew that the real brothel slavery exists in the
    brothels where Chinese women are provided for European soldiers
    and sailors, whereas Mr. O'Malley, in discarding the use of the
    word slavery, does so on the assumption that all the Hong Kong
    brothels form a part of the Chinese social system, and that the
    girls naturally and willingly take to that mode of earning a
    livelihood. This is a misconception of the actual facts, for
    though the Hong Kong brothels, where Chinese women meet Chinese
    only, may seem to provide for such women what Mr. O'Malley calls
    'a natural and suitable manner of life' consistent with a part of
    the Chinese social system, it is absolutely the reverse in those
    Hong Kong brothels where Chinese women have to meet foreigners
    only. Such brothels are unknown in the social system of China. The
    Chinese girls who are registered by the Government for the use of
    Europeans and Americans, detest the life they are compelled
    to lead. They have a dread and abhorrence of foreigners, and
    especially of the foreign soldiers and sailors. _Such girls are
    the real slaves in Hong Kong._"

We underscore the last sentence as a most painful fact in the history
of the dealings of the British officials with the native women of
China, set forth on the authority of the Governor of Hong Kong, who,
with the help of Sir John Smale, the Chief Justice, waged such a
fearless warfare against slavery under the British flag, with such
unworthy misrepresentation and opposition on the part of the other
officials equally responsible with them in preserving the good name of
their country, and in defending rather than trampling upon its laws.
Governor Hennessy continues

    "To drive Chinese girls into such brothels [i.e., those for the
    use of foreigners] was the object of the system of informers which
    Mr. C. C. Smith for so many years conducted in this Colony,
    and which in his evidence before the Commission on the 3rd of
    December, 1877, he defended on the ground of its necessity in
    detecting unlicensed houses, but which your Lordship [Lord
    Kimberley, Secretary of State for the Colonies] has now justly
    stigmatized as a revolting abuse. On another point the Attorney
    General also seems not to appreciate fully what he must have heard
    Sir John Smale saying from the Bench in the Supreme Court. It
    would be a mistake to think that the Chief Justice had not before
    he left the Colony, realized the public opinion of the Chinese
    community on the subject of kidnaping. In sentencing a prisoner
    for kidnaping, on the 10th of March, 1881, Sir John Smale said he
    was bound to declare from the Bench that, to the credit of the
    Chinese, a right public opinion had been growing up, and on the
    25th of March, 1881, (the last occasion when Sir John Smale spoke
    in the Supreme Court of Hong Kong), he said, in a case in
    which the kidnapers had been convicted--This case presents two
    satisfactory facts first, that a Chinese boat woman handed one of
    these prisoners to the police, and that afterward an agent of the
    Chinese Society to suppress this class of crime caused the arrest
    and conviction of these prisoners. These facts are indicative of
    the public mind tending to treat kidnaping as a crime against
    society, calling for active suppression. On the same occasion, in
    sentencing a woman who had severely beaten an adopted child, Sir
    John Smale said, 'In finally disposing of these three cases, with
    all their enormity, sources of satisfaction present themselves in
    the fact that, in each of these cases, it has been owing to the
    spontaneous indignation of Chinese men and women that these crimes
    have been brought to the knowledge of the police.' The Governor
    closes his letter with the statement, 'It is only due to Sir John
    Smale to add that his own action has greatly contributed to foster
    the "healthy" public opinion of the native community, which
    induced him, when quitting the Supreme Court, to take a hopeful
    view of the future of this important subject.'"



The Acting Attorney General at the time of Sir John Smale's first
pronouncement against slavery had suggested to Governor Hennessy that
Sir John Smale's statements should be sent to London to the Secretary
of State for the Colonies; and he and other advisers recommended that
no prosecutions in connection with "adoption" and "domestic servitude"
should be instituted, pending the receipt of instructions from the
Home Government. The Chief Justice concurred in these views, and also
suggested that the Chinese be told that no prosecutions as to the past
should take place, but that in future, in every case where _buying and
selling_ occurred in connection with adoption or domestic service, the
Government would undoubtedly prosecute.

The replies that came from the Secretary of State indicated scant
sympathy with Sir John Smale's position. His action was likely to
disturb the system of regulation of vice at Hong Kong, and these
health measures were in high repute with that official at London. He
could not sympathize with the Governor's view that laws securing the
freedom of the women were to be executed, whatever the result to the
brothel system. He wrote in reply as though Sir John Smale had said
many things that had not been put in the same light, demanded to know
what law could be put into operation to improve conditions, and wished
to know if Sir John Smale accepted Dr. Eitel's views on "domestic
servitude," and later he wrote pronouncing the views expressed in the
insolent attack of Mr. O'Malley upon Sir John Smale's anti-slavery
pronouncements as "well considered and convincing." He also referred
to the "humane intentions" of Mr. Labouchere in the passing of the
Contagious Diseases Ordinance of Sir John Bowring's time, which "were
intended to ameliorate the condition of the women." But it does not so
much concern us what the officials in London did and said, excepting
at the one point, namely, that they did not at this time back the
noble efforts of the Governor and of Sir John Smale to put down
slavery, and so rendered it practically impossible for them to
accomplish what they wished to do. The replies from Sir John Smale
are, however, of much value to us, as throwing light upon social
conditions at Hong Kong. On August 26, 1880, Sir John Smale replied in
a letter meant for the Secretary of State at London, but sent in due
form to the Colonial Secretary at Hong Kong for forwarding:

    "My observations in Court arose out of cases of kidnaping;
    and, according to the practices of judges in England, in their
    addresses to the Grand Juries, and on sentencing prisoners, I did
    as I thought it my duty to do. I traced the cause of the kidnaping
    to the demand for domestic bond servants, as Dr. Eitel calls them,
    and for brothels ... I said on the 7th of October I expressly
    indicate these two, and these two only, as the specific classes of
    slavery in Hong Kong as then rapidly increasing ... I cannot find
    a sentence in it which indicates any attempt by the Court to reach
    criminally cases of concubines."

    "All that I contended for in what I then said beyond punishing
    kidnapers was to bring within the cognizance of the law those
    who bought from such kidnapers,--the receivers of such stolen
    'chattels,'--leaving such buyers to set up and prove a
    justification if they could."

    "On the 31st of March, 1880, prisoners in four cases of
    kidnaping,--one most harrowing,--were sentenced. I there lamented,
    and I am sure every right-minded man will concur with me, that
    it was the fact that the very poor were punished and the rich
    escaped. In that case it clearly appeared that one Leong Ming
    Aseng, apparently a respectable tradesman, at all events a man of
    means, had given $60 for a young girl aged 13 years, to one of the
    kidnapers, and he took her away beyond the reach of her distracted
    mother under circumstances from which he must have known that the
    child had been kidnaped. But although the facts were known at the
    Police Court, and this man remained exceeding ten days afterward
    in the Colony, no charge was ever made against him. After passing
    sentences at this time, I made some observations on the '_patria
    potestas_' [power of the father] theory. Dr. Eitel having painted
    this condition in China in what I thought too favorable colors,
    I quoted from Doolittle's 'Social Life in China,' unquestioned
    testimony as to what _patria potestas_ was in China before the
    controversy now raised, and from Mr. Parker, Her Britannic
    Majesty's Consul at Canton, as to its present state in China.
    After these quotations, I simply asked, Can greater tyranny, more
    unchecked caprice, be described or even conceived as inexcusable
    over wife, concubine, child, or purchased or inherited
    slave?'--the quotations I made being up to this time undisputed
    ... what I said was necessary to introduce the expression of my
    conviction ... that none of the elements of the system of _patria
    potestas_ exist in Hong Kong, including of course adoption. It is
    to this conviction that I point as the moral ground for enforcing
    English law against kidnaping and buying and selling human beings.
    The gravamen of all my complaints is, that the pauper kidnapers
    and sellers are punished, while the rich buyers go free. No case
    can come on for trial in this Court except upon an information by
    the Attorney-General. I have called on the Attorney-General of the
    day to prosecute a man against whom there was evidence that the
    boy he was keeping as a servant had been bought by him direct from
    a kidnaper. The then Attorney-General exercised his discretion,
    and did not prosecute." "There are no difficulties in the way of
    carrying out the punishment of kidnaping, and sellers and buyers
    of children, or of keeping children by the purchasers, or in
    selling and buying of women for brothels, or in dealing with
    cases of brutal bondage." "I have spoken from criminal facts and
    circumstances deposed to in Court; the Chinese and Dr. Eitel have
    spoken from the favorable surroundings of respectable domestic
    life in China. The conflicting views thus presented are but a
    reproduction of conflicting testimony in reference to negro
    slavery in the West Indies, and more lately in the United States.
    Very benevolent persons, some my own friends, looking at facts
    from the respectable standpoint, thought that such slavery was
    based on human nature, and conduced to the spread of Christianity.
    But the contrary view prevailed. I am quite satisfied that the
    right view on this question will ultimately prevail. As a man I
    have very decided views on these subjects, but as a judge I feel
    it is not for me further to debate them. I expressly retired from
    doing so on the 27th of October, 1879, although I thought it
    necessary in March last to comment on what I thought to be an
    erroneous view of the _patria potestas_."

Later, in response to a suggestion on the part of the Governor, for a
more explicit statement as to wherein his views differ from those of
the Chinese and of Dr. Eitel, the Chief Justice says, among other

    "I do not admit the statements of Dr. Eitel. They do not apply
    to Hong Kong, but they may, and probably do, apply to certain
    respectable classes in China proper, where China family life
    proper exists. What I assert is that family life does not, in the
    proper Chinese sense, exist in Hong Kong, and that although, under
    certain very restricted conditions, the buying and selling, and
    adopting and taking as concubines, boys and girls in China proper,
    is permitted as exceptions to the penalties inflicted by Chinese
    law in China proper, these conditions do not exist in Hong Kong;
    and that the conditions necessary to these exceptions in their
    favor in the Chinese Criminal Code do not exist in Hong Kong,
    and that the penalties would apply, if in China, to all such
    transactions as I have denounced in Hong Kong, of that I have no
    doubt. Dr. Eitel's vindication is of a system as recognized in an
    express exception to the Penal Code in China proper, which may,
    for aught I know, work well in China. What I have said is that the
    practices in Hong Kong do not come within the cases which are only
    the exception to the penal enactments in the Chinese Code against
    all such bondage in China. I have never said ... that all buying
    and selling of children for adoption or domestic service is
    contrary to Chinese law. What I have said is that all such buying
    and selling of children as has come within my cognizance in Hong
    Kong is contrary to Chinese law; but I do think that buying and
    selling even for adoption and domestic servitude under the best
    circumstances, constitutes slavery; legal according to Chinese
    law, but illegal according to British law. Reference is made to
    Chinese gentlemen; I believe that not one of them has his 'house'
    in Hong Kong; the wife (small-footed) is kept at the family home
    in China. Each of them has his harem only in Hong Kong. There may
    be an exception to this rule, but I have never heard of any such
    exception. (I know of only one, of a Chinese gentleman, who, for
    certain reasons, was afraid to return to China.) ... I have not
    known a single case of adoption by a Chinaman in Hong Kong. They
    may exist in China proper, and possibly in Hong Kong ... They are
    not in China proper a sacred religious obligation, except in
    rare cases indeed, in which the conditions of clanship and other
    stringent conditions are precisely complied with; and they have
    as much to do with the necessities of the poor, and no more, than
    would be the case in England or Ireland in the time of a famine.
    These Chinese gentlemen say that the children are well cared for.
    If girls eligible for marriage or concubinage, they are sold for
    that, and form a profitable investment to a Chinese gentleman.
    If not so eligible, they are sold for any, even the worst
    purpose,--brothels, according to my experience in the Criminal
    Courts of Hong Kong. If the former, it may be that they do well;
    but if the latter, no slavery is worse. This as to females. And
    as to males, the purchaser holds them until they can redeem
    themselves, and, according to my experience, generally never.
    Again, the Chinese gentlemen allege that if the adoptive parent or
    master does not do his duty the actual parents have their remedy.
    The answer is, so far as Hong Kong is concerned, the far greater
    number of actual parents are far away in China, have entirely lost
    sight of the child, and are far too poor to seek a remedy in Hong
    Kong. They would have a remedy, if they were present and knew it,
    but they do not know that there is a remedy. They had their remedy
    from the first in China proper. Well, a remedy in the Mandarin
    Court, where the longest purse prevails, and into which a poor man
    seldom dares to enter a complaint."

    "Lastly, it is said that the lot of these children is far happier
    than if they had been left to their ordinary fate. So say these
    Chinese gentlemen; so said the noble and wealthy, the much
    respected slave trader and holder, a century ago in England. The
    answer to him then is the only answer for these Chinese gentlemen.
    It is a long one which presents itself to everyone who has studied
    the slavery and the slave-trade question. Besides this long
    argumentative answer, one question must be answered:--Is it right
    to do or sanction wrong that good may come?"

    "A very long time has elapsed since I received your letter
    forwarding that dispatch [containing the request of the Secretary
    of State for the Chief Justice to state his views as to Dr.
    Eitel's representations], in June last; but the delay has been
    advantageous, as it has enabled me to obtain a memorandum on the
    subject by Mr. Francis, barrister here, and for a year Acting
    Puisne Judge ... I write on this subject from an experience in
    Hong Kong since early in 1861; Mr. Francis from a very extensive
    experience in both China proper and in this Colony since some
    years previously." He then enters into history to show that "Mr.
    Francis of necessity studied ... the whole law on the subject of
    slavery or bondage in every form here."

Mr. Francis first reviews all the legislative measures existent at
Hong Kong concerning slavery, in the clearest manner possible, leaving
no doubts in the mind of any fair-minded person that laws were not
wanting to put down slavery:

    First: Hong Kong, being a Crown Colony, "the power of the
    Sovereign in respect of legislation is absolute."

    Second: The proclamation of Sir Charles Elliott, of tolerance
    of native customs was "pending Her Majesty's pleasure," and no

    Third: Her Majesty's pleasure was declared at Hong Kong: (a) By
    the Proclamation of 1845; (b) "By Ordinance 6 of 1845, 2 of 1846,
    and 12 of 1873, by the combined operation of which the law of
    England, common and statute, as it existed on the 5th day of
    April, 1843, became the law of Hong Kong."

    Says Mr. Francis of Ordinance 6 of 1845, "The relations of husband
    and wife, parent and child, guardian and ward, master and servant,
    whatever they may have been when Hong Kong was Chinese, became
    from the date of that Ordinance what English law made them, and
    nothing more or less."

    "But in addition to the declarations of the Common Law," declares
    Mr. Francis, the following are in full force at Hong Kong: "The
    Act of the 5th George IV. c. 113, the Act of the 3rd and 4th
    William IV. c. 73, and the Act 6th and 7th Victoria c. 98, which
    have in the widest terms abolished slavery throughout the British
    dominions." "These Acts declare it unlawful for anyone owing
    allegiance to the British Crown, whether within or without the
    dominions of the Crown, to hold or in any way deal in slaves, or
    to participate in any way in such dealing, or to do any act which
    would contribute in any way to enable others to hold or deal in
    slaves. This simple declaration, if it stood alone, would make
    every act of slave-holding a misdemeanour, but the Acts themselves
    make it piracy, felony, or misdemeanour, as the case may be, to
    do any of the acts declared to be unlawful. These Acts further
    declare that persons holden in servitude as pledges or pawns for
    debt shall, for the purpose of the Slave Trade Acts, be deemed and
    construed to be slaves, or persons intended to be dealt with as
    slaves. Hundreds of persons are held in such servitude as pledged
    or pawned in Hong Kong, and not one of the parties to such
    transactions has ever been proceeded against under these Acts."

    "In addition to the above-mentioned Acts of George, William and
    Victoria, there is also the Imperial Act, entitled The Slave
    Trade Act, 1873, which consolidates the laws for the suppression
    of the Slave Trade, and which is in force in Hong Kong by its own
    authority. We have also the provisions of the Local Ordinance 4 of
    1865, sections 50 and 51, and 2 of 1875."

    "Offenses against the provisions of these Ordinances, so far as
    they relate to women or children, are still very common, and
    are growing more numerous every day, and until the system of
    prostitution which prevails in this Colony, and the system of
    breeding up young girls from their infancy to supply the brothels
    of Hong Kong, Singapore, and San Francisco, _is declared to be
    slavery_, and is treated and punished as such in Hong Kong, no
    stop will ever be put to the kidnaping of women and the buying and
    selling of female children in Hong Kong. This buying and selling
    is only an effect of which the existing system of Chinese
    prostitution is the cause. Get rid of that, and there is an end of

Again the nail had been struck on the head. _Licensed brothel
slavery_, as it exists at Hong Kong, was put forward by the Chinese
merchants as something to be dealt with before British officials
could consistently lay violent hands on the more trivial offenses of
_domestic slavery and so-called "adoption." Brothel slavery_, says
Mr. Francis, must be dealt with _as slavery_ before the practice of
_kidnaping_ can be put under control. This lesson was learned long
ago. What did all the laws against man-stealing and slave-trading ever
accomplish so long as the slave owner was allowed to keep his slave?
As soon as slave-holding was declared impossible in the United States,
there was no more trouble with slave-traders. Traders go to a market
where they can dispose of their goods, not to a place where their kind
of goods are a drug on the market.

Says Mr. Francis bluntly: "The Chinese custom of adoption, whether of
boys for continuing the family and worship of ancestors, or of girls
for the ordinary purposes of domestic service, is not the foundation
of all this buying and selling of women and girls; it is only the
pretext and excuse." Mr. Francis states that the buying and selling of
boys is rare as compared with the buying and selling of girls. That
there are few Chinese families in Hong Kong.

    "The better class Chinese leave their wives in China. The
    transaction of purchase of these boys takes place at the home of
    the fathers of them in China. Seldom is it necessary to buy a son,
    as the usual custom when a wife has no son is to take another
    wife, not to buy a boy for a son,--hence such buying of boys is
    for servitude and for ransom, at Hong Kong." "Girls are not bought
    and sold in Hong Kong for domestic servitude under Chinese custom.
    They are bought and sold for the purpose of prostitution, here and
    elsewhere, and instead of being apprenticed to the domesticities,
    and of being brought up to be good wives and mothers, they
    are bought and sold,--brought up and trained for a life of
    prostitution, a life of the most abject and degrading slavery....
    By the last census [this was written in 1880], there were in Hong
    Kong 24,387 Chinese women to 81,025 men. Of these 24,387 women
    the late Mr. May [Superintendent of Police] was of opinion that
    20,000, or five-sixths, come under the denomination of prostitutes
    ... A Chinese doctor of large experience fixed the number of
    quasi-respectable women at one-fourth the whole number, or say
    6,000, leaving 18,000 prostitutes. These opinions were taken and
    adopted by the Commission of 1877-1879 ... Who and what are these
    prostitutes who form by far the greater bulk of the Chinese female
    population of Hong Kong? The Report of the Commission answers the
    question: 'The great majority of them are owned by professional
    brothel-keepers or traders in women in Canton or Macao; they
    have been brought up for the profession, and trained in various
    accomplishments suited to their life ... They frequently
    know neither father nor mother, except what they call a
    pocket-mother,--that is, the woman who bought them from others ...
    They are owned in Macao and Canton. They are bought as infants.
    They come to Hong Kong at 13 or 14, and are deflowered at a
    special price which goes to the owners. The owner gets the whole
    of their earnings, and even gets presents given to the girls, who
    are allowed three or four dollars a month pocket-money. When some
    of the girls are sent away on account of age, new ones are got
    from Canton. If these girls are not slaves in every sense of the
    word, there is no such thing as slavery in existence. If this
    buying and selling for the purpose of training female children up
    for this life is not slave-dealing, then never was such a thing
    as slave-dealing in this world. There are 18,000 to 20,000
    prostitutes in Hong Kong to 4,000 or 5,000 respectable Chinese
    women.... Once in five years the stock has to be renewed. It is
    for this purpose, and not for the legitimate or quasi-legitimate
    purposes of Chinese adoption and Chinese family life, that
    children and women are kidnaped and bought and sold ... Until
    this slave-holding and slave-dealing are entirely suppressed, the
    grosser abuses arising out of it and incidental to it (kidnaping
    of women and children) can never be put an end to."

It was on May 20th, 1880, that the Secretary of State asked for the
first statement of Sir John Smale's views as to kidnaping and domestic
slavery. His reply is dated August 26th, and in it he refers to
reasons for his delay in replying, of which the Governor is "well
aware." His supplementary letter enclosing the Memorandum of slavery
by Mr. Francis, was dated Nov. 24th, 1880. On April 2nd, 1881, he
wrote a third time to the Colonial Secretary, from which we gather
that even up to that time his explanations had not been forwarded to
Lord Kimberley, Secretary of State. Said he:

    "I had hoped that these letters would have been forwarded
    last year, in the belief that they might have induced a less
    unfavorable view by Lord Kimberley of my judicial action as to
    these matters, and with the more important object of presenting
    what appears to me to be the great gravity of the evils I have
    denounced, as they affect the moral status of the Colony, in order
    that some remedy may be applied to them.... I am informed that His
    Excellency the Governor has been unable to obtain the opinion of
    the Attorney-General on the points raised." ...

It is impossible not to feel that this neglect on the part of someone
at Hong Kong to forward the Chief Justice's letters until the first of
these was a year old (for they were actually sent in August, 1881),
was a designed obstruction of his endeavors to set himself in the
correct light, and to enlighten the Christian public of Great Britain
as to the abuses existing at Hong Kong.

In this letter expressing regret at the delay of his letters, he
speaks of convictions of eight more cases of kidnaping, and "almost
unprecedented brutal assaults on bought children." "Considering the
special waste of life in brothel life, and the general want of new
importations to keep up the bondage class of 20,000 in this Colony,
the cases of kidnaping detected cannot be one-half of one per cent of
the children and women kidnaped."

    "Two cases of brutal treatment of young girls by purchasers, their
    pocket-mothers, one little girl having had her leg broken by
    beating her, and the other having been shockingly and indecently
    burnt,--both probably weakened for life,--illustrate the cruel
    passions which ownership in human beings engenders here, as it
    ever has done elsewhere. In a case now before the magistrate, the
    evidence tends to show that a girl thirteen years old was
    bought by a brothel-keeper for $200, and forced, by beating and
    ill-treatment, into that course of life in a brothel licensed by
    law. Subject to such surveillance as these houses are by law, it
    seems to me such slavery is easy of suppression."

At this time the official career of Sir John Smale at Hong Kong



We have traced the development of slavery from State-protected brothel
slavery to State-tolerated domestic slavery and "adoption" of boys.
Now we turn to Singapore, to find that all these forms of slavery
exist there under the British flag, with the addition of a
coolie-traffic dangerously like slavery, also, and they are all
under the management of the Registrar General, or "Protector of the
Chinese," as he is always called at the Straits. For the general
description of conditions in the Straits Settlements, more especially
at Singapore, we give in full a paper read by an Englishman, a
resident of Singapore for many years, at the Annual Conference of
American Methodist Missionaries, held in Singapore in 1894,--a paper
which was endorsed by that body:

    It has come to be almost universally acknowledged that Singapore
    is indebted as much to Chinese as to British enterprise for its
    present commercial prosperity, and therefore the subject of
    Chinese labour which is vexing America and Australia, assumes a
    very different aspect in the Straits Settlements, and the fact
    that Chinese immigration has increased 50 per cent in the last ten
    years is looked upon as an unmitigated blessing. The magnitude of
    the Singapore labour trade will be understood when it is known
    that the number of Chinese who came to this port last year, either
    as genuine immigrants or for transshipment to other ports, was
    122,029, which is actually more than the entire Chinese population
    of the town. In connection with the immigration of this multitude
    of men and women, speaking many dialects of a language which is
    wholly unknown to the officials of the British Government in the
    Straits, with the exception of perhaps half a dozen persons, it
    cannot be wondered at that many abuses arise, and the suspicion
    has gained ground and is frequently given expression to, in the
    public press and elsewhere, that many of the immigrants do not
    come to Singapore of their free will. Moreover, it cannot be
    denied that the circumstances under which the Chinese come to
    Singapore and are forwarded to their destination lend colour to
    this suspicion, so that it may fairly be inquired whether the
    efforts made by the Government of the Straits Settlements to
    control the Chinese coolie traffic and to prevent a secret form
    of slavery have been attended with any success, or are at all
    adequate to the requirements of the case.

    The Annual Report for the year 1892 on the Chinese Protectorate in
    the Straits Settlements which is the department charged with the
    control of immigration, was published on the 5th of May, 1893, and
    states that of the 122,029 Chinese deck passengers who arrived in
    Singapore from China during the year, 111,164 were males, 6,867
    women and 3,998 children. The circumstances under which the men
    and the women are brought to Singapore are in many respects the
    same, but inasmuch as a large number of the women and some of
    the children are imported for immoral purposes, this part of the
    subject will be dealt with separately. Turning then to the above
    mentioned Report, we find as regards male immigration, that out of
    the 111,164 who arrived in Singapore 23,647 proceeded direct to
    Penang, and 1,798 to Malacca, Bangkok and Mauritius, leaving
    85,719 remaining in Singapore, of whom 76,601 are classed as
    'paid passengers,' and 9,118 as "unpaid passengers received into
    depots." With the former class the Chinese Protectorate has
    nothing more to do, unless they come to the Protector to sign a
    Government labour contract with planters or other employers
    of labor, but with the 'unpaid passengers' the case is very
    different. These men are brought to the Straits to the number of
    about 15,000 a year, under what is spoken of in the Report as
    "the much objurgated depot and broker system," and the facts as
    presented below will speak for themselves as to whether the
    objurgations are warranted or not. The brokers are all China men,
    and are admitted to be men of the worst character. They have their
    assistants or partners in the chief ports of China, who scout
    the country round in search of men and are known to be not very
    particular as to the means they employ in obtaining them. Nothing
    is required of the recruit except a willingness to hand himself
    over with his scanty outfit to the tender mercies of the broker,
    who pays his passage and provides him with food and such things as
    he considers needful. While the vessels, however, with their decks
    crowded with emigrants, are leaving the Chinese ports, it is a
    common occurrence for the cry of "man overboard" to be raised, so
    common indeed that few Captains now take the trouble to stop their
    ships, leaving the fugitive coolie to his fate or to be picked up
    by one of the native craft which are usually close at hand. The
    readiness of the Chinese emigrant thus to risk his life for the
    purpose of regaining his freedom, is explained by the advocates of
    the depot and broker system as arising from a desire on his part
    to outwit the broker and perhaps obtain another bonus by offering
    himself a second time as a candidate for the honour of a free
    passage, but it seems quite as likely that nothing less than
    kidnaping or forcible detention would induce men to run so great
    a risk. On arrival at Singapore the broker is again on the _qui
    vive_ to see that his captives do not jump into the sea, and as
    each coolie ship arrives at the wharf, a small force of police
    is in waiting to keep a space clear and prevent any attempt at
    escape, while the officers of the Protectorate board the ship,
    accompanied by a further force of marine police, for the purpose
    of inspecting the coolies. When permission is given to disembark,
    the unpaid passengers are made up into small parties and marched
    through the town to the depots under the escort of the brokers and
    several of their assistants, with much yelling and good deal of
    rough handling, and an occasional halt while a straggler or a
    would be runaway is brought back to the party. That the coolies
    are frequently successful in their attempts to escape is shown
    in the Report of the Chinese Protectorate, 160 being returned as
    'absconded either when landing or at depot' in Singapore, and 101
    at Penang, or about 1-3/4 per cent of the "unpaid passengers". On
    arrival at the depot, the coolies are probably surprised to find
    themselves securely confined in houses which look uncomfortably
    like prisons, and the passer-by may see the dirty and unkempt
    _sin-khehs_ or "new men," as these emigrants are called, peering
    out between the thick wooden bars of the windows. The coolies
    are thus forcibly detained at the depots until the brokers are
    successful in finding employers who are prepared to pay the price
    per head which they demand, a sum of about £10. In the meanwhile
    however, it appears from the Report that nearly 4-1/2 per cent of
    the inmates of the depots are discovered and redeemed by their
    friends, the numbers being 414 at Singapore, and 278 at Penang,
    and a further 1-3/4 per cent, or 236 at Singapore, and 55 at
    Penang, are shown under the headings "released and returned to
    China," having presumably been discovered to have been kidnaped.
    Of the total number of "unpaid passengers" arriving at Singapore
    and Penang, about 91 per cent eventually sign contracts and are
    made over to their employers or their agents, the majority of
    these being shipped off, under escort as before to the Native
    States of the Malay Peninsula or other neighboring countries, to
    labour for a fixed term of years after which the coolie is free to
    return to his native land or to seek such other employment as he
    may see fit.

    Such are the circumstances under which thousands of our fellow
    beings are annually brought to the labour market at Singapore, and
    it must be admitted that, to say the least of it, the system does
    not seem worthy of Western nineteenth century civilization. At the
    same time the extreme difficulty of controlling the 'depot and
    broker system,' or even of providing an efficient substitute for
    it, must be freely admitted. The system of Government contracts
    and inspection of immigrants has already done something toward
    ameliorating the condition of the coolie, and guarding him against
    illegal detention after his arrival at Singapore or Penang. Much
    more, however, remains to be done before the coolie trade will
    cease to be a reproach to the Straits Settlements, and it is
    doubtful whether any satisfactory reforms will be accomplished
    until the Chinese Government is moved in the matter with a view to
    checking the evil at the fountain head. Failing this, it would be
    worth considering whether the system of "unpaid passengers" might
    not advantageously be abolished, especially as this class of
    immigrant represents only 11 per cent of the total immigration,
    and more than one-third of the labor contracts last year were
    voluntarily signed by "paid passengers." It seems probable that if
    the "unpaid passenger" system were abolished, and the market thus
    thrown open to free competition, a much larger number of "paid
    passengers" would offer for contracts. But, even if this plan
    should appear to involve too great a risk of diminishing the flow
    of Chinese coolies to Singapore, it surely would not too severely
    tax the ingenuity of the Straits Government to devise a system of
    State-aided immigration, closely resembling that which has for
    many years been working in Canada, and more in accord with the
    dictates of ordinary humanity and English ideas of the liberty of
    the subject.

    Among the Chinese at Singapore the women number less than
    one-fifth of the population, and at Penang the proportion between
    males and females is practically the same. In the immigration
    returns the disparity is even more marked, for there is only
    one female immigrant to every eighteen men. This extraordinary
    preponderance of males in the Chinese population of these towns
    has given rise to, and is made the standing excuse for, a
    wholesale system of prostitution to which it would be difficult
    to find a parallel. Government registration and protection have
    favored the growth of this diabolical plague spot, for, strange to
    say, this gigantic system of debauchery is under the direction
    of the department which is euphemistically entitled "The Chinese
    Protectorate," the "Protector of Chinese" at Singapore being also
    the Inspector of over 200 brothels, and the Registrar of about
    1,800 prostitutes. Many streets of well built three-story houses,
    chiefly in one particular quarter of the town, are devoted to this
    nefarious traffic, and are thronged every night with Chinamen who
    loaf about and gaze into the front rooms and verandahs of the
    brothels, for these front rooms open on the street and there
    the women and girls are assembled in their best attire for the
    inspection of the passers-by. Anything more ostentatiously and
    revoltingly public could hardly have been devised, and it is
    painful to reflect that the whole arrangement is the product of
    Western civilization, such scenes being utterly unknown in China
    except in the treaty ports, where public prostitution has also
    been introduced by Europeans.

    Taking Singapore as a sample of the working of this system of
    regulated vice in the Straits Settlements, we will now proceed
    to inquire into the means by which this army of prostitutes is
    recruited. Out of the total of 1,800 prostitutes in Singapore the
    Chinese women number on the average 1,600, and last year (1892) no
    less than 621 women entered brothels from China and Hong Kong, in
    spite of which the number of inmates fell from 1,657 in January
    to 1,601 in December, so that it may fairly be inferred that more
    than 650 women are required annually to fill up the vacancies
    which occur. In order to explain the manner in which this large
    number of girls and young women are obtained each year, it must be
    stated that all the affairs connected with the inmates of houses
    of ill-fame in the Straits Settlements are in the hands of
    the brothel-keepers. These persons in Penang have formed a
    "Brothel-keepers' Guild," which appears in the Report of the
    Chinese Protectorate as one of the registered societies of that
    town and boasts of 297 members. The brothel-keepers of Singapore
    are probably banded together in the same way, and in proportion to
    the number of brothels should be more than twice as numerous as
    those in Penang. These brothel-keepers have their confederates in
    China, who search for girls and young women in the same way that
    the coolie-brokers search for the men, and these unfortunate young
    persons are brought to Singapore in batches under escort in the
    same way as the men, but are taken from the ships in closed
    carriages instead of being driven through the town like sheep, as
    the men are. All these young women and girls, who are brought
    to Singapore for immoral purposes, with the full knowledge and
    consent of the Government, are taken direct from the ships to the
    office of the Protector of Chinese, to be questioned as to their
    willingness to lead a life of shame; but the value of this
    interrogation may be inferred from the fact that the subordinate
    officer to whom this duty is generally assigned is not acquainted
    with the language spoken by the women. As a further precaution
    against the illegal detention of women and girls in brothels, a
    Government notice is posted in each of these houses, to the effect
    that the inmates are perfectly at liberty to leave whenever they
    like, but this is of little use, as hardly any of them can read,
    and it would be more to the purpose if the Government ordered the
    removal of the bars from the doors and windows of the brothels.
    The fact is that these precautions against illegal detention are
    practically useless, and this is admitted even by the editor of
    such a paper as the _Hong Kong Daily Press_, who some time ago
    discussed the question _apropos_ of the suicide of a Hong Kong
    prostitute who was desirous of being married. The man who wished
    to marry her offered the pocket-mother a sum of $2,000, but she
    demanded $2,300 and refused to part with the woman for less;
    whereupon she hung herself. The following comments on this case
    are from the _Hong Kong Daily Press_:

    "It would appear on the face of it that the efforts of the
    Government are absolutely impotent, the notices so much waste
    paper, and the 'rights of liberty' mere empty phrases of no
    meaning or significance to the Chinese mind ... A Chinawoman would
    never dream of effecting her escape for the purpose of evading the
    blood money. Of course such transactions are absolutely illegal,
    there is no tittle of reason why the man should pay a cent for the
    girl, but it is nevertheless an indubitable fact that the custom
    is widely prevalent, and that Hong Kong is a market for the buying
    and selling of women which the Government is powerless to touch.
    Exeter Hall in possession of these facts would indeed have a theme
    for pious lucubrations."

Commenting upon the same case the _Singapore Free Press_ says:

    "A recent investigation into a case of suicide in Hong Kong brings
    into strong prominence what is really a system of slavery of the
    worst kind, and which is not unknown in Singapore."

    Such testimony is valuable from papers which have consistently
    supported the Contagious Diseases Ordinances and vilified the
    opponents of the State regulation of vice. There can be little
    doubt that a large proportion of the girls and young women who are
    brought to the Straits Settlements for immoral purposes have been
    sold in China to the brothel-keepers' confederates. In many cases
    girls are thus sold by their parents for the payment of gambling
    and other debts, and sometimes, alas, to provide money for the
    purchase of opium. Surely it is a burning shame that British
    Colonies should have become the market for the sale of Chinese
    women into this diabolical form of slavery.

    This article cannot be closed without a brief reference to another
    and more subtle form of slavery which is well known to exist in
    the Straits. The last Report of the Chinese Protectorate reveals
    the fact that during last year (1892) in Singapore alone 426
    prostitutes left brothels and went into private houses, and in
    the same period 148 left private houses and entered brothels. The
    wealthy Chinese in the Straits Settlements keep up very large
    establishments, and the uninitiated visitor cannot fail to be
    surprised at the number of young women in the quarter assigned
    to the servants. They are employed on house work, and keep the
    magnificent furniture and wardrobes in splendid order, and in many
    cases they make cakes and sweetmeats which are sold on the streets
    by their own offspring. The question naturally arises,--Are these
    women and girls free agents? It is very difficult to say with
    certainty whether they are free or not, but it is generally
    admitted that a subtle form of domestic slavery does exist in the
    Straits, and that boys as well as girls are bought and sold with

    This account in no way exaggerates conditions, as official
    documents plainly show. We will confine our thoughts, however,
    to the women. In a plea for the continuance of the Contagious
    Diseases Ordinance at Singapore, Mr. Pickering, "Protector,"
    describes two classes of prostitutes, a proportion of free women
    "who come down here to gain a livelihood, and girls purchased when
    very young.... These are absolutely the property of their owners,
    chiefly women whom the girl calls 'mother,' and whom they regard
    as such.... The mistress brings her girls down to the Straits, and
    either sells them, or takes them from place to place, lodging them
    in licensed brothels where she resides, nominally a servant, but
    receiving the earnings of her girls, and paying a commission to
    the licensed keeper. In case of sale, the so-called 'mother'
    receives the price paid for her 'daughter,' and the 'daughter'
    signs a promissory note for the amount, with heavy interest; the
    former owner returns to China, and the victim is bound to serve
    the Straits mistress; at the same time, the girl is comparatively
    (!) fortunate in that, coming here under the protection we can
    give through the Contagious Diseases Ordinances, she has some
    chance of becoming a free woman."

Now listen, reader, to the wonderful chances of becoming a free woman
under the British flag, this "Protector" holds out to the slave girls
who are placed in his officially managed brothels:

    "The girls with their promissory notes are passed from hand to
    hand in sale, or as pledges for loans; and in one brothel I found
    two girls, who had, on arrival in Singapore from China some six
    years previous, signed a note for $300 each, of which every cent
    had been received and taken back to China by the person who had
    disposed of them. During the six years they had been the property
    of two or three successive owners, and when I found them in Penang
    they were still being detained with the original promissory note
    hanging over them, though the sum had been paid over and over
    again. On my insisting on accounts being produced by the
    brothel-keeper, I discovered that for three years the girls had
    been earning from 20 to 30 dollars each per month, all of which
    went to the master, who was surprised when the girls were released
    and himself threatened with the law." (!)

From this we discover that Mr. Pickering intends that we shall think
that the reason why he has a salary from the British Government,
is, among other things, to see that slave girls only need to redeem
themselves by hard earned money through unspeakable humiliation from
one, or two, or more owners, and then there is an end to the patience
of the "Protector" with the slave-trader, who will be surprised to
find himself "threatened"--not punished--with the law! But Cecil C.
Smith, formerly Protector of Chinese (Registrar General) at Hong Kong,
was knighted and made Governor at Singapore, and about a year later
than this, says, in reference to this very representation: "The
Protector of Chinese has no efficient means of dealing with the
accounts of the inmates of brothels, nor has he ever dealt with them.
The Government should hold itself entirely aloof from interfering with
such matters." We see, then, of how much account the representations
of Mr. Pickering were as to the usefulness of the "Protector" to the
women at this point, but incidentally he has revealed a shocking state
of slavery perfectly known and not in the least interfered with by the

Mr. Pickering continues: "At that time the majority of inmates of
brothels were in the same condition; besides this, they were subject
to great cruelty and restraint." He professes a great improvement,
since then, but we may take his word for what it is worth on such
a point. "We, indeed ... have asked for, and trust to get, more
legislation to enable us to rescue the numbers of small children who,
purchased in China, are brought down here and trained for a life of
prostitution." Nothing of the sort. He knew perfectly well, as did
every Englishman in the Colony, that the Common Law alone of Great
Britain, if there were nothing more, was quite sufficient to deliver
every one of these children, as well as every slave girl, in the
country. If more legislation were desired it was for some other
purpose than to empty the brothels of their slaves. He goes on to
state that children born in brothels "in case of free women belong
to the mother, but when prostitutes, their issue is claimed by their
owners, unless their mothers complain to the Registrar," which of
course, he knew, they would never venture to do. "We know well that
even now there is a deal of traffic in young girls going on, and
that a number of inmates of brothels are really slaves.... The only
Europeans I have heard object to the Contagious Diseases Ordinance are
those who, in their well-meant zeal, would abolish prostitution, and
punish all parties engaged as criminals." Precisely! Sir John Smale
at Hong Kong had undertaken to "punish all parties engaged" in this
nefarious slave business, and his methods were declared unwise and
unpractical, simply because his methods endangered prostitution in the
form of brothel-slavery. Says Mr. Pickering in conclusion:

"I myself profess to be a Christian, and endeavor according to my
light, and as far as my nature will allow, to conform my conduct
to the standards of my religion; while holding these principles, I
certainly feel that I should not be acting in accordance with the
wishes of my Master, were I not to advocate most strongly that healing
should be extended to the poor, the helpless, and afflicted, whether
they be harlots or any other kind of sinners, who; unless the
Government assist them by forced examinations, will suffer and often
die in misery from the want of medical assistance." Perhaps the most
charitable view to take of this creature is that suggested by himself.
He was a Christian, he claims, "as far as my nature will allow." Had
his nature only allowed him to see further, he would have perceived
a distance as wide as heaven is from hell between the conduct of the
Divine Master who "went about healing all that were oppressed," and
the man who prostitutes the healing art to the service of libertines,
in making it healthier, if possible, for them to defy the commandments
of that same Divine Master. Such doctors are the offscouring of the
medical profession.

A Chinaman one day entered Mr. Pickering's office at the Protectorate
in Singapore, accused him of selling his brother into slavery, and
tried to brain him with an axe. The blow was not fatal, but the
"Protector," if living, is still in a mad house.

The attitude of the average official mind in this part of the world,
among the British, as betrayed by innumerable expressions in their own
documents, is perhaps most precisely put by Mr. Swettenham. British
Resident at Perak. Speaking of measures adopted to make vice more
healthy, he says: "As to the Chinese, the only question in the minds
of members (of the Council) was whether such an Order would not drive
the women from the state," and then he declares the measures were
introduced cautiously and gradually ... "The steps already taken have
been with the object of protecting Chinese women from ill treatment
and oppression in a state of life ... where the labour required is
compulsory prostitution for the benefit of unscrupulous masters ...
and secondly, in the interest of public order and decency ..." "always
remembering that where the males so enormously outnumber the females,
the prostitute is a necessary evil," "I have avoided any reference to
the moral question," continues Mr. Swettenham, "Morality is dependent
on the influence of climate, religious belief, education, and the
feeling of society. All these conditions differ in different parts of
the world."



After eighteen years' hard struggle, the British Abolitionists
succeeded in getting Parliament to repeal the Contagious Diseases Acts
in force in certain military stations in England, and in force in
other parts of the British Empire. It now became the duty of the
Secretary of State for the Colonies to see that all the Crown
Colonies, such as Hong Kong and Singapore followed suit. This was in
1886, and the Contagious Diseases Ordinances for these two places were
not replaced by other legislation until 1888 at Singapore, and 1890 at
Hong Kong. From what we have seen of the spirit of these officials
in general it seems needless to say that the old Contagious Diseases
Ordinances were repealed amid a storm of protests. One of the
Municipal Commissioners of Singapore "said that the repeal of the
Contagious Diseases Ordinance was the most cruel and merciless act
which had ever been done." A statement from the unofficial members
of the Legislative Council at Hong Kong declared: "In England abuses
might have arisen under the recent law, but here it is impossible,"
and very much more of the same false nature. The new Ordinances are
excellent reading, and in the hands of the right sort of officials
would do incalculable good. _But laws were not needed in the Colonies
to put down slavery._ Mr. Francis' Memorandum, and Sir John Smale's
pronouncements have clearly demonstrated that fact, but the right sort
of men were needed to enforce the laws already in existence, in the
same disinterested manner in which Sir John Smale had wrought so
effectually. The new law was, however, put in each case under the
administration of the "Protector" and his staff of officials, and the
result has been, and could but be unsatisfactory, to the present day.

For instance, in 1893, Mr. H.E. Wodehouse, Police Magistrate at
Hong Kong, in reporting on a case of suicide of a slave girl to the
Colonial Secretary at Hong Kong, to be transmitted for the information
of Lord Ripon, Secretary of State for the Colonies, who had asked for
the information, goes quite fully into a description of conditions at
this time, three years after the passage of the Protective Ordinance.
He says:

    "The name of the deceased was Chan Ngan-Kin.... She was registered
    as a prostitute in this brothel on the 23rd of December, 1890.
    When registering her name she said she had no pocket-mother, that
    her parents were both dead, and that she became a prostitute
    of her own free will. The inspector said that that was the
    description of themselves that nearly all prostitutes give, and
    that it was very rarely that it was true. The further evidence
    went to prove that she and a young man were mutually attached to
    each other, and he was anxious to redeem her, and that she was
    desirous of being redeemed, but that the price asked, two thousand
    three hundred dollars, was more than he was willing to give,
    though he was willing to give two thousand dollars.... There is
    little doubt that his inability to redeem her caused her to commit
    suicide.... The pocket-mother was not produced [at the inquest],
    and there was a general disposition on the part of the Chinese
    witnesses to withhold information."

Lord Ripon said in his letter of inquiry: "If the facts were as stated
in the above-mentioned paper, it would seem to prove that it is not
generally understood in the Colony that a brothel keeper has no legal
right to demand any redemption money for the release of one of the
inmates." To this the Magistrate replies, in explanation:

    "It is not quite correct to speak of the brothel-keeper as
    demanding redemption money. The person whose property the
    prostitute is is the pocket-mother, that is to say, the purchaser
    of the girl. Nearly every prostitute has her own pocket-mother,
    and she it is who has sole control over the prostitute's
    movements. All the earnings go to her, and the redemption money
    when redemption takes place. The 'brothel-keeper' is a creation
    of the Government, and the term has, I think, led to some
    misappreciation of the actual state of things. It is true that,
    being registered by the Government, she becomes in a manner
    responsible for the proper conduct of the establishment, but the
    property in the girl does not rest in her, except in the case of
    the two or three girls to whom she may herself be pocket-mother,
    that is to say, whom she may herself have purchased. The
    pocket-mothers are the real proprietresses of their purchases, and
    a brothel-keeper would not regard herself as in any way connected
    with such girls, beyond the obligation devolving upon her of
    registering the inmates of the house of which she, as tenant or
    owner, was the proprietress. A Chinese brothel is in fact merely
    a collection under one roof of several different establishments,
    consisting of the pocket-mothers and their purchases, the
    pocket-mothers for the most part being the body-servants of their
    charges, and administering to their daily wants, though in reality
    their mistresses and their absolute owners."

The document scarcely needs comment. It illustrates the fact that one
may have most ideal laws, but laws never operate automatically, and in
the absence of any desire to "let the oppressed go free," but rather
an eager desire to hold them in subjection to the base propensities of
profligate men, as all the State documents representing the situation
tend to show, there is small proof that the "Women and Girls'
Protective Ordinance of 1889" has had any appreciable effect in
altering the slave conditions at Hong Kong. The same old notorious
inspector, John Lee, who, Governor Hennessy thought, ought to have
been prosecuted for manslaughter, after he hounded those native women
to their death, was Chief Inspector of Brothels at Hong Kong in 1894,
when we made investigations in that Colony, and personally interviewed
many of these slave girls, and heard their stories.

The most recent official documents relating to the matter have been
commented upon in _The Shield_ (organ of the British Committee of the
International Purity Federation), in its issue dated London, June,
1906, as follows:

    "One of the most important parliamentary papers of recent years on
    our question has just been issued in response to questions put in
    the House of Commons by Mr. Henry J. Wilson, M.P., on March 8th
    last. The title is, 'Further Correspondence relating to Measures
    Adopted for Checking the Spread of Venereal Disease' (Cd. 2903),
    and relates to enactments in the Straits Settlements, Hong Kong,
    and Gibraltar, during the period in which the Rt. Hon. Joseph
    Chamberlain was at the head of the Colonial office.

    "The correspondence in question further reveals the existence and
    extent of a 'Yellow Slave Trade' in the East of large dimensions.
    The girls in question are stated to be 'bought when young,' and
    'believe themselves bound body and soul to the brothel-keepers.'
    Nine hundred and sixty-eight Chinese women, presumably of this
    kind, are reported at Penang, and 62 Japanese women. There were
    176 admissions of Japanese women, and 141 admissions of Chinese
    women in 1899 to the public hospital at Singapore, besides numbers
    of other cases to private hospitals maintained by the keepers of
    the houses of ill-fame.

    "Many passages in the correspondence give evidence of a continual
    import traffic going on, which the head of the Regulation
    Department, the 'Protector of Chinese,' at Singapore, seems to
    have made some effort to counteract. He speaks of ten girls
    between 9 and 15 that he attempted to rescue from sale to
    a traveling dealer, but who were returned to their former
    surroundings on a writ of _habeas corpus_ by the Supreme Court;
    but upon information in regard to this case reaching the Colonial
    office in London, correspondence ensued which resulted in Mr.
    Chamberlain directing an alteration of the law to meet the case of
    the prosecution which had so lamentably failed.

    "The Protector of Chinese also tells of 'girls under ten years of
    age who are bought and sold in the colony,' 'brought from China
    for purposes of sale,' 'generally sold to inmates of brothels,'
    and of women who are 'in the habit of arriving from China with
    relays of babies' for the same purpose. The Straits Settlements
    Government thus attempts to cut off a twig here and there of the
    tree of this evil traffic, whilst leaving untouched the root and
    trunk of the tree itself, the State protection of vice, by which
    it is made practicable safely to invest large capital in this most
    nefarious but lucrative traffic.

    "Page 4 of this Correspondence shows that an ordinance was passed
    in 1899, imposing very heavy fines and imprisonment on any keeper
    of a brothel who allowed any of the inmates suffering from
    contagious disease to remain in the house. This has led to a
    system of private arrangements with medical men for the periodical
    sanitary inspection and treatment of the inmates.

    "At page 19 the Acting Colonial Surgeon says: 'A large number of
    Japanese houses had some time before made private arrangements
    with my partner, Dr. Mugliston and myself, for medical attendance,
    and the rumor regarding the intended legislation induced most
    of the remainder to follow their example during the month of
    September. The increase of Japanese inmates (of the hospital) for
    this month, therefore, was caused by our sending in those cases
    of disease then found among these fresh houses.' Paragraph 4, the
    same page, says: 'With regard to the Chinese women we already had
    long had a number of Chinese brothels to attend professionally;
    during September of 1899 a large proportion of the remainder made
    similar arrangements with us.'

    "It is difficult to say positively what the precise nature of
    these transactions is, but it is only too evident that the
    acting Colonial surgeon, with his professional partner, was most
    improperly mixed up with the business arrangements of the
    brothel-keepers. These people, indeed, figure so that they must
    have constituted a very good, and perhaps the most lucrative
    portion of the practice of these doctors.

    "To cope with the extra business brought in by these arrangements,
    section 2 of paragraph 4, page 19, says: 'In September, 1899, four
    private lock hospitals were organized, one in each of the four
    main sections of brothels, by the keepers under our direction.'
    Paragraph 6 says: 'We make frequent periodic inspections of the
    Chinese brothels, seeing each inmate, and visit our private
    hospitals daily.' Here, again, it may be asked what are the
    precise relations of the acting Colonial surgeon to 'our private
    hospitals?' It is satisfactory to know that inquiries are being
    made by our Parliamentary friends in regard to this peculiar, if
    not suspicious, circumstance.

    "Mr. Chamberlain, with all the foregoing facts before his eyes,
    says on page 21: 'I am glad to find that the Protector of Chinese
    and the acting Colonial surgeon have, so far, been able to give
    such a satisfactory report of the working of the ordinance.'

    "At Hong Kong, 'the keepers of Chinese and Japanese brothels
    frequented by Europeans have retained private practitioners as
    their medical advisers, and a small private lock-hospital has been
    instituted for Japanese women.' This followed on 33 prosecutions
    instituted by the police in respect of 89 complaints made by
    soldiers and sailors of the British forces. Page 35 and elsewhere
    show that prosecutions have taken place of 'sly brothels,'
    competing with the 'regular professed brothels.'

    "It is to be hoped that this Blue-book will, with facts now
    being published in various parts of Europe and in America, draw
    attention to the necessity of a new movement (supplementary to the
    great movement now on foot for the suppression of the 'White Slave
    Trade'), for the suppression of the 'Yellow Slave Trade,' which is
    becoming almost world-wide in character."

As the supply of girls both in Singapore and Hong Kong comes very
largely from Canton, let us first describe the conditions we found
there. Our Journal of February 14th, 1894, reads as follows:

    "We went in company with a missionary and a native, both of
    whom could talk both English and Chinese, and visited some
    'flower-boats' on the river. Many of these boats are quite
    pretentious, with their rich wood-carving, fine furniture,
    and gaudy display of tinsel. There were whole streets of
    them,--floating houses moored together; we walked along the length
    of the street on one side, stepping from the bow of one boat to
    the next, the bows of the boats constituting front verandahs. We
    called at almost every place, but a description of one will do for
    all. First, as we entered, was a couch for opium smoking; just
    beyond this a reception room, very gaudy, with dozens of hanging
    lamps, and at one end a shrine for the gods, and offerings before
    it. In a room back of the reception room, and also upstairs,
    there were girls in large numbers. A hard-featured old woman came
    forward from the back room, who, our interpreter said, was as good
    a specimen as we could possibly have seen of an old brothel-keeper
    of Canton, one who had been in the business for many years of
    buying or otherwise obtaining babies and girls, and training them
    for prostitution. The girls came crowding to the door of the back
    room, and looked in upon us with eager curiosity. Our interpreter
    called our attention to the manner of dressing the hair,--like
    married women,--as indicating their bad life. The interpreter said
    they were inducted usually at about thirteen years of age. They
    were all dressed very showily, and heavily powdered and painted,
    excepting some mere babies who were plainly dressed. Troops of
    little girls, from four to five years of age, swarmed out of the
    neighboring 'flower-boats' and gathered around us, screaming and
    scrambling, falling, laughing, and following us the full length of
    the street, which was made up of about twenty such boats on either
    side. And none of these innocent little things at all realized the
    fate in store for them. In one place we saw two very old women in
    the front room. In another, a woman knelt before the idolatrous
    shrine engaged in her devotions. At one point there was a very
    large boat brilliantly fitted up for music, dancing, smoking
    opium, and feasting. At the far end of the street was a
    'kitchen-boat,' from which supplies of food, ready cooked,
    could be bought. All the way along we saw little girls with the
    unmistakable signs of their destiny upon them. Our interpreter
    said the girls were usually made to stay upstairs during the day
    time, but at night the whole place was illuminated and alive; then
    they were brought down and to the front. Occasionally we would see
    one of these huge house boats full of painted girls, floating down
    the middle of the stream, for they move about from place to place
    at will.

    "At Canton, February 18th, 1894, we met and conversed with a
    missionary lady who had just come from a station in the interior.
    She had travelled from her station on a Chinese boat, which had
    been chartered by her adopted son for his use going up, and for
    hers coming down the river. When she was about to embark, she
    required that the men should search the boat, and down below, in
    the very bottom, were a lot of little girls--_child slaves_--being
    smuggled to Canton for the trade of a vile life. She made the men
    take the children off the boat, but with great difficulty. They
    resisted, but she stood courageously, and saw her commands
    executed. After she had accomplished this, and started down the
    river, all alone, so far as any English-speaking person was
    concerned, the men, who were still deeply enraged at being
    defeated in their plans, greatly annoyed her by intruding on her
    constantly, and finally they threatened to kill her; but she
    presented as brave a front as possible, and at last took hold
    of one man who was especially insolent, by the shoulder, in an
    authoritative manner, bidding him to go out of her presence. He
    went away cowed, and they all said, as was reported to her by one
    of her attendants, 'She is not afraid'; they then became very
    superstitious at the idea of a woman taking hold of them, and
    troubled her no more.

    "The five or six Christian friends where we were staying in Canton
    all agreed that it was the most common occurrence for little girls
    to be bought and sold for immoral purposes. One of the group
    has often heard the wretched blind girls singing just under her
    window, on the river bank, and under conduct of the old
    brothel-keeper, their owner, thus attracting custom. The
    proportion of blind people in Oriental countries is much greater,
    owing to the prevalence of eye diseases and the poverty and
    ignorance of the people in coping with these, than in the West;
    and as blind girls do not bring much money when disposed of as
    wives, so they are sold in large numbers into a life of shame.
    Poor little slaves! Because they are deprived of the natural light
    of day, so they are destined never to see a ray of moral light
    enter their miserable existence! We saw three or four little blind
    girls who had been rescued, by these Christian workers, from their
    terrible fate; but these are only a few rare exceptions out of the
    thousands that are borne on into the tide of shame and anguish

Of the many girls we interviewed at Hong Kong the story of the
following seems typical of her class, so we extract it from our

    "At the first place we called there were six inmates--four of whom
    were present at the interview. The keeper went out of the room as
    we entered, and did not return. The girls were very friendly, and
    one of them talked a little English. This one told us that she
    came from Canton, and, in broken English, said that she had 'no
    father, no mother, no brother; a poor man took her when a _very_
    little child and raised her to sell. By and by a woman came and
    offered to buy poor man's little girl, and as he had but little
    food, he asks, 'How much?' then she buys the little girl and
    brings her to Hong Kong. Then woman take her to Englishman and
    say, 'She first-class girl,' and he say, 'I make her my wife,' but
    he not good; he no husband; he go away to his house--England.'
    Thus she described in a few simple words the tragedy of her life
    with tears in her eyes; her training for vice; her sale; her hopes
    of marriage; her desertion; the outcome, her consignment to a
    Government-licensed brothel. She was but one of the tens of
    thousands at Hong Kong. We asked, 'How would a girl have to do in
    order to live in this house?' They said, 'She must be registered
    at the Lock. Hospital, and would have to go to the Court and Mr.
    Lockhart (the Registrar-General) would ask her questions; whether
    she had a father and mother; how old she was; _where the money
    went to that was paid for her_; and whether she wanted to be a
    prostitute or not.' We asked, 'If a girl should say that she _did
    not_ want to be a prostitute what would be done?' They answered,
    'No girl would _dare_ to say this _when she had been bought_.' We
    asked the girl who talked English over again about this, and she
    said the same.

    "All the places of infamy reserved for the use of Europeans which
    we visited in Hong Kong, were within three minutes' walk of
    Victoria Hotel, in the very busiest part of the city. Close by our
    hotel were such world-famed shops as 'Watson and Co.,' 'Kelly and
    Walsh,' etc.; a short distance down the street were the Postoffice
    and the Supreme Court buildings. The respectable English residents
    of Hong Kong cannot go about the streets of the city without
    seeing these places; there are draper-shops and other places
    visited daily and hourly by respectable foreigners and natives,
    occupying the ground floor of these brothels. The fine new
    building of the Girls' High School, under the management of the
    Government, is within five minutes' walk; yet all these brothels
    are glaringly numbered, as registered by the city, in huge figures
    eight or ten inches high, of red on a white background, painted
    on the doors of the stairways leading to the second story of the
    buildings occupied by these shops. The school children cannot pass
    by without noting these officially numbered houses, and seeing
    the girls sitting at all hours of the day and into the night
    conspicuously in the balconies over the shops of drapers, grocers,
    tailors, silk-merchants, shoe-dealers, &c., &c., and often hearing
    them calling to each other from house to house, and to the men in
    the public streets below. Mrs. Andrew, when in the street, March
    2nd, saw a group of these slave-women calling down to three
    policemen, who were looking up and laughing at them. These are
    daily sights."

The unblushing parade of forms of vice, which have been manufactured
in the Orient especially to meet the demands of renegade members of
Christian civilization, can be seen in a peculiarly painful and brazen
form in the city of Hong Kong.

While we were at Hong Kong, there occured a great celebration in honor
of the repair and rededication of an important Buddhist temple.
There was a grand procession, and many thousands of Chinese from the
mainland came over to witness the celebration. The parade formed in
the early morning and went at once to the residence of the Governor to
do him honor, after which it marched through the principal streets of
the city. It was a curious, interesting, and withal a painful sight,
in some regards not unlike industrial parades in our own country. At
night we saw something totally unique and difficult to describe to
those who have not witnessed the same in China. Men bore aloft great
dragons and fishes innumerable, of all sizes and shapes, (but very
true to life), given a natural color and lighted up within, like
Chinese lanterns. These were held aloft on the ends of long poles, and
as the men who carried them were invisible, because of the darkness,
and trod noiselessly because of bare, or merely sandaled feet, the
impression was of an immense train of these creatures floating or
swimming silently through the air.

The procession was made up of men of all sorts and kinds. Great fat
men with enormous fans panted along, and little boys ran by their side
with stools upon which they gravely seated themselves whenever
the line of march was halted for a moment. Little boys progressed
painfully along with the rest, walking on their hands, with their feet
thrown up into the air, or spinning along on all fours like wheels,
or going through various other antics. And, contrary to anything that
could have happened away from the open ports of China, there were many
women in the parade, and girls too. They were on horseback, in sedan
chairs, borne on wheeled platforms, like our "Goddess of Liberty"
representations on the Fourth of July; walking, and sometimes riding
on bullocks. We counted 150 women in all. These were dressed and
painted up in such a style that a single glance showed they belonged
to the disreputable class, and their old "pocket-mothers," were to
be seen walking along close to them and keeping a sharp lookout over
their gaudily dressed slaves. Yet more painful was the sight of
the little girls, bound to heavy wires and placed in all manner of
contortions. Here was a girl about sixteen, standing cross-legged on a
moving platform, holding a spear in each hand, the spears crossed in
front of her breast, and a little girl dangling from each spear-point.
So it appeared, but in fact all were well wired into the distressing
shape they occupied, and it was said that none of them could have
endured the position for a moment but for plentiful doses of opium.
Next passed a girl standing on the moving platform, holding a spear at
arm's length, and a three-year-old girl standing on its point. Then a
little boy holding a long rod from which was suspended a tiny child. A
girl passed sitting on a stool and holding a sword by its point with
a child of four suspended from its handle, and next a girl holding a
sword by its handle, and the child suspended from its point. One
girl sat playing a flute held up high in the air, and a girl of six
appeared to be suspended from it. One poor little thing was borne high
up in the air, astride a turning-pole, with legs well crossed beneath
the pole. And then there came along a little girl swaying about on the
end of a long pole carried by men in the procession. We were on the
second floor of a great verandah of the hotel, and the child swung so
close to us, that we started forward toward her with a cry of pity.
Great tears were rolling down her cheeks, and she seemed to look
straight into our eyes, and attempted a sickly smile at our
expressions of pity.

Later, after the procession of fishes, we sat in company with two
Chinese ministers of the Gospel who came to call upon us, and
discussed in sadness the scenes of the day. They said, if we had
understood the native language and joined in the procession, as they
did at times, we would have heard the old "pocket-mothers" and other
owners of these girls driving bargains for their sale, temporarily
or permanently, with the men of the crowds. These native Christians
marvelled that Englishmen and American men who called themselves
"Christians" could have joined in these festivities in honor of a
heathen temple, and that the Governor should have made a speech of
congratulation, with no rebuke of these scenes of inhuman torture of
women and child slaves, when the procession paused at his door. These
parades continued two or three days, always accompanied by the great
paper dragons, whether in the daytime or at night, by the noise of
deafening tom-toms, and the sickening sight of tortured slave-girls.



"Ladies, I wish to introduce to you Mr. ---- He is eager to meet you,
and I am sure you will be glad to meet him. You are working along much
the same lines. Mr. ---- I assure you, is, in fact, interested in
every good thing that is done in this City, and in every good thing
that comes this way. We all count on his sympathies. I am glad to have
the privilege of bringing you together." With this our friend of many
years, the good Doctor, withdrew to speak to another group, and we
entered into a short conversation with the white-headed old man to
whom we had been introduced. He was profuse in his expressions of
sympathy for our purity work, but somehow, we could hardly have
defined why, we were not interested in him, and soon turned away.
The occasion that gave the opportunity for his introduction, was a
missionary conference at Singapore. The man in question had explained
to us that he was not of the same denomination as the church that had
called together the reception of that evening, but that he seldom
failed to attend all such gatherings, no matter of what denomination,
because of his interest in every part of the "Father's Kingdom".

Although we were very weary, and the air was intensely close,
Singapore being only about seventy-five miles from the Equator, we
spent most of that night and of several others in company with a
Christian friend and interpreter, in the worst parts of the city; and
this, with visits to various regions during the day, gave us a pretty
clear understanding of the situation as to the matter of enforcement
or non-enforcement of the Protective Ordinance.

    "On the night of February 1st, 1894, we went to Tringanu street,
    and ascended to the third story of a large building. The front
    windows of this upper floor were gaily lighted up by many colored
    lamps, and could be seen far down the street. There was a small
    opium den at the foot of the stairway, on the ground floor. On
    reaching the head of the stairs, and turning, we entered a large
    front room. There were bedrooms at the back of the house, to be
    let to patrons of the establishment. At the opposite end of the
    front room from the windows was the ever-present idolatrous
    shrine. On either side of the room were elegantly-carved ebony
    chairs, with marble or agate panels. Rich Chinese pictures
    decorated the walls. Toward the back of the room hung the sign,
    '283 Licensed Eating House.' There was a large table in the
    centre of the room. Toward the front, on either side, in alcoves,
    partitioned off in part from the remainder of the room, were
    opium couches, with pipes and lamps ready for use. We give this
    description in full, as it applies, almost without variation, to
    all the others which we visited in the immediate neighborhood.
    Food was furnished on order, intoxicating drinks, and opium. At
    the second place, on the opposite corner of the same block, the
    men told us that the place was used for the same purposes. We
    asked where the women were, and they answered that it was too late
    to see them, but if we would come earlier we would find them. When
    asked where the women came from, they pointed down to the street
    below, to the open brothels, and said there were a great number of
    degraded women who lived close by; said the brothel-keepers sent
    them. They said that white men as well as Chinese came to their
    place. After this we walked the length of the several streets and
    side-streets, in the near vicinity, and proved the truth of what
    the men had told us as to the swarming numbers of degraded girls
    and women.

    "The next night we went to the same neighborhood, and revisited
    the two places already mentioned, and others also. As we reached
    the top of the stairway and passed into the front room of the
    place where they had invited us to return, there was quite a
    flutter of excitement, and we instantly saw that there was
    a number of girls present, all very young, and several mere
    children. On our left a fat, middle-aged Chinese man sat, with two
    or three little girls, one in his lap and one on either side of
    him, in his arms; two more were throwing something that resembled
    dice on a table within the front alcove, and the rest were sitting
    on the opium couches. There were ten girls in all; the two
    youngest could not possibly have been more than eight years old;
    only one, out of the ten, claimed to be over sixteen; we
    all doubted her claim, because of her extreme immaturity of
    appearance. The two youngest children were immediately sent away
    by order of the fat man, who was evidently in authority. The men
    explained that these girls belonged to different women who were
    not their own mothers; that they came to sing and dance, and pour
    wine for the patrons who came to the place. They also explained
    that all these girls were brought from the brothels, and were
    either already living a bad life or were being trained up for
    prostitution. They were powdered heavily, had flowers and
    ornaments in their hair, the upper part of the forehead made bare,
    and the hair dressed elaborately, like married women (even the
    very youngest children); of course they were not married, for they
    were declared to be the property of the brothel-keepers, and this
    manner of dress must, therefore, have been an advertisement of
    their shame.

    "A curious musical instrument was brought--somewhat like a
    dulcimer--on which two of the girls played in succession, singing
    in a high, monotonous way.

    "From here we went to the first place visited the night previous,
    on the opposite corner of the same block. There was quite an
    excitement here when we came in. Two men and two girls were
    playing on native instruments--one of the men on a sort of fiddle,
    and the other on a rude guitar; the girls, one striking, in sharp
    staccato fashion, a wooden perforated bowl inverted on a standard
    or post, and the other a kind of cymbal; they were singing in the
    same shrill, monotonous way we had heard before. We counted eight
    girls here. There was a piece of unpainted tin or zinc, about
    eight by twelve inches, set upon the table toward one end, with
    a list of fifty names on it, and a Chinese man, who talked fair
    English, explained it thus: 'These are the names of singing and
    dancing girls who come here; a man looks over the list and calls
    for a girl to sing or dance; then he chooses his girl.'

    "We then went to a third place on the same side of the street.
    Here there was a wild confusion as we reached the top of the
    second flight of stairs and entered the front room, and several
    young girls were hustled out through the other door and into the
    little back rooms, and the list of girls' names was hurried out
    of sight. The Chinese men were evidently much frightened. A bold
    little girl, very smartly dressed, was put forward, who answered
    our questions in a loud, brazen manner. One of our party asking
    her if she could sing, she thought the statement was made that she
    was not 'sixteen' (the age under which girls are supposed to be
    'protected' from going into prostitution by British rule), and
    shouted, 'I am _seventeen_.' We stayed only a few minutes, but
    were informed that they provided opium and intoxicating liquors

We told our hostess one day that we desired jinrikshas that we might
be conveyed to the Protectorate to interview the Chief Inspector,
having heard that he desired an interview. As we were leaving the
house she detained us a moment to say, timidly: "Ladies, do pardon me,
but I feel I must caution you that that man has a very violent temper,
and it will not do in case you see anything, to criticise,--no matter
what you think. I don't wish to seem to intrude, but I know the man's
reputation as to temper, and I cannot bear to think of his having a
chance to treat you rudely." We thanked her heartily, and promised to
be doubly careful.

We knew the place. A very imposing Government building standing apart
by itself, upon which much money had been expended to give it a fine
appearance. We were soon ushered into the presence of the man who held
the same relation to the work at Singapore that John Lee holds, or at
least held the last we knew, at Hong Kong. Will you believe us, when
we tell you that to our amazement it was that same white-haired old
man to whom we had been introduced at the church gathering as such an
active Christian, "working along much the same lines as ourselves, and
at the head and front of every good work in the Colony?" To be sure we
had heard the name of this Inspector, but we had never in our remotest
conception connected it with the man the Doctor had introduced to us.
Concealing our surprise we sat down for a few moment's interview. The
man knew his lesson "like a book." We could have prompted him, had he
made a mistake in reciting it, from the State documents which we had
with us,--the same from which we have compiled the chapters of this
little book. "The work of the Protectorate is really rescue work, _and
that only_." He had lived in Singapore nearly thirty years. He said he
had disapproved of the Contagious Diseases Ordinance, when it was
in existence, but a good thing had grown out of it in the matter of
provisions for the "protection", of women. We asked, in reference to
his remark that the Protectorate was a Rescue Society, if it did not
look after men, too. He replied, "Oh yes, the coolies; all are brought
here, but the men go to the other side of the building; the women come
here." We asked if all the women came before him; he said, "Before the
Protector; but in his absence before me." We pondered on the thought
of this "rescue work" carried on by this particular Protector of whom
we had heard that he had been almost unspeakably vile from boyhood
up. He showed us a book which contained a list of all deck-passengers
coming to Singapore, who had been passed under review at the
Protectorate; they were listed by families. He then showed us a
separate list of women and girls who came alone, without families. He
had underscored with red ink the names of those in the list who had
gone into brothels. He said that suspicious cases either went to the
Protectorate Refuge, or those under whose charge they went to live
were obliged to give bonds or securities, 500 Mexican dollars was the
usual amount of the security in the cases recorded. He also showed us
the form of these bonds, both blank forms and some that had been made
out; these bonds required that the girls named therein should not be
removed from Singapore, and that the girls should be produced from
time to time at the Protectorate, upon demand of the Protector, and
within twenty-four hours. The bond was good for a specified time named
thereon. Then he showed us a book containing "_Warrants of Removal and
Detention to the Chinese Refuge_" for girls under sixteen years of
age. He also showed us little tickets (we had already seen them in a
brothel) and said these contained the number and address of the
girls, and if one of these tickets was sent back by a girl to the
Protectorate, by any hand or in any manner, the Protectorate would
immediately send for the girl and listen to her complaint. He showed
us a book of cases, and read us the story of one girl in particular,
Ah Moi, and congratulated himself on the Protectorate being at hand
to rescue this girl. We will give this case in full further on. He
repeated his assertion that he abominated the C.D. Ordinance, and said
that there were now no compulsory examinations, and no Lock Hospital,
and that the Government had nothing to do with examinations in any
form. But we replied that we had already visited the Lock Hospital,
and that there were about fifteen patients there, and asked him how
they came to be there. He said anyone could go there; that it was a
general hospital for women, and that all diseases would be treated
there; that the patients could go away at any time they wished; the
Colonial Surgeon was in charge of it. But we asked him how it happened
that the degraded women knew enough to go there in such numbers; he
said they might be ill, and any doctor in a private capacity would
send them. He had sent them, and would like to send a good many more,
when they were very ill. He told us of going over the records, for
years back, and of finding that the average of time spent in the
brothel by these girls was three years and a half, while, if they
stayed in Canton, they would be life-long prostitutes. He made much
of this point, and argued that it was better for them to come
to Singapore in order to be set free by the Protectorate, but
acknowledged that many of them became concubines (in "following a
man," as the Chinese express it). He spoke of domestic slavery in
Singapore, but declared it was slavery of a very mild sort. We asked
who came with the Chinese girls when they came to the Protectorate.
He answered, "Oh, a friend--the woman or 'mother' who owns them." We
asked if nothing could be done against these traffickers in girls; he
said they could not often get sufficient proof against them. We saw in
one of the records something about "women traffickers," and pressed
him to know why these could not be caught and banished by means of
paid detectives watching the incoming boats. He replied that it was
very hard to get evidence; the girls' own statements were not enough;
the Protectorate needed more power. When asked what powers were
further necessary, he suggested the power to punish the traffickers
of girls by simply the statement of the girls who were brought to
Singapore through fraud, or who were kidnaped. He then spoke of a drug
which was used by the women traffickers to destroy the girls' wits; he
believed in its existence and its use. He said of these cases of fraud
and kidnaping, "We can usually do nothing." We asked if a woman was
found bringing girls over and over again whether she could not be
prosecuted: he answered that she might be. We then asked if the
Protectorate had ever prosecuted: he replied, "Oh yes, a few times."
But he grew uneasy under these questions; said no one could know or
appreciate the present situation who did not know the conditions
of the things in the past, but now he thought they had the best
arrangement possible for protecting the women and girls, and
exclaimed, "But if this ordinance were abolished I do not know what
would become of them." He confessed at the close of our talk that he
would like to speak freely to us about certain things connected with
the work which could not be mentioned publicly, and said there were
"perplexities--great perplexities." Yet at the beginning of the
conversation, when speaking of the criticism passed upon the
Protectorate's work, he had said, "Why do they not come here for
information instead of going about criticising? our books are all
open to public inspection." But we had noticed that throughout the
interview he kept the books in his own hands, and only allowed us to
see what he himself turned up for our inspection.

Now as to some of this official's statements--we deal with them, not
with the object of criticising his _personal_ opinions and views and
statements, but as an _official_ representation to us of a Government

To begin with, he had told us two absolute falsehoods, at least. One
was that there was no Lock Hospital at Singapore, whereas we had
visited this Government institution and by careful inspection found it
was used for _the one purpose only_, having no equipment for any other
uses, and there were fifteen prostitutes there. When confronted with
this knowledge, which, remembering our hostess' caution as to his
temper, we expressed as gently as possible, he then declared it was
a general hospital, which it was not. He declared there were no
compulsory examinations, and that the Government had nothing to do
with examinations in any form. We thought it wisest not to give him
the information that we held at that time, and hold to the present
day,--dozens of papers of committment to the Lock Hospital for
compulsory examinations both in his own handwriting and in that of
the Protector. And some of these cases, as the records we have copied
show, were those of perfectly innocent girls, acknowledged to be
virgins, until assaulted by these abominable medical officials and
robbed of the fresh bloom of maidenly chastity.

The official spoke of the work of the Protectorate as "Rescue work,
and that only," in so far as it dealt with women. But it must be borne
in mind that the "Protector" of women and girls was likewise the
Registrar of brothels; and that the rules and regulations under the
Women and Girls' Protection Ordinance provided, in both Singapore and
Hong Kong, for every detail in the management of brothels, even to the
granting of a permit to keep a brothel, and the description of the
"duties" of brothel-keepers. Surely this part of the Protector's
work cannot be called "Rescue work," as we are accustomed to use the

According to the Annual Report of the Protectorate for 1893, 1,183
women and girls entered brothels with the sanction of the Protector;
and quite apart from any discussion of whether this sanction should
have been given or not, it is quite apparent that this also was not
"Rescue work."

During the same year 1,034 women and girls left the brothels of
Singapore, and it is apparent that we must look among these mainly for
rescued cases. Of this 1,034 the following account is given:

  Absconded                  63
  Died                       21
  Gone to "Private Houses"  346
  Married                    69
  To be accounted for       451

We have an explanation in the Protector's own words of what is meant
by a girl who has "absconded." "It is common now, when an owner
notices one of her girls contracting a continued intimacy with a male
visitor (and therefore to be suspected of an intention to apply to our
office for release), for the owner to sell the girl away to another
country. When this has been accomplished, the brothel keeper reports
the prostitute has absconded, and, if we cannot prove the contrary, we
are obliged to accept the story and strike the name off our books."
What would we think in America of a "Rescue work, and that only," with
all the advantages of Government backing; under constant surveillance;
every girl registered; that permitted 63 girls in a year to be
defeated in their desire to marry by being sold as slaves into foreign
parts; that allowed 346 of the girls to "go to private houses," as
domestic slaves or concubines; that did not account at all for 451
girls; and saw only 69 married; and all this out of 1,034 cases it had
absolutely within its control?

The Inspector spoke of the _personal tickets_ given into the hands of
each girl, which if sent to the Protectorate at any time, would secure
a hearing for her before the Protectorate. It is also declared that
notice is posted up in every brothel in a conspicuous place, that no
girl can be detained against her will. We visited a place on Fraser
Street the night of February 2nd; quoting from our journal:

    "There was a middle-aged woman in charge, with a baby beside her
    on the couch where she was sitting. There were six girls present,
    the oldest barely sixteen years old in appearance, and one between
    fourteen and fifteen--a thin, immature little creature. We asked
    about this young girl, and one of our interpreters overheard the
    keeper instruct her to say she had been in the house two years.
    Then we asked the girl her name, and the keeper told her to tell
    us a different name from the one she first gave us. We saw hanging
    on the wall, a black bag, which we were allowed to take down and
    examine. It contained a board eight by ten inches square, on which
    was pasted a paper bearing a list of the inmates. The list was
    headed by the keeper's name, Moo Lee, in writing. Then was printed
    across the top in Chinese characters a statement that inmates
    could not be confined against their will. (The question was
    whether, in our absence, the girls would be allowed to take this
    bag down, open it, and read the sentence of liberty inside.) We
    showed this to the girls, and asked them if they could read the
    Chinese written thereon, and they all, even to the brothel-keeper,
    said they could not. We then asked them what was the _meaning_ of
    the words, and none of them could tell. One girl said, 'We cannot
    read them, but the great man at the Protectorate can read them.'
    We asked them if they had tickets, and they showed us little
    square pieces of paper exactly similar to one which we hold in
    our possession. The tickets were all so blurred that the educated
    Chinese gentleman who accompanied us tried in vain to make out its
    full meaning. It is by means of these things, put in the hands of
    Chinese women who are utterly unable to read a word of Chinese,
    that their liberty is professedly given them."

Now as to the case of Ah Moi, of whom the Inspector spoke as
illustrating the beneficent work of the Protectorate. He had little
idea how much we knew of the case or he would never have brought it
up. There is at Singapore a Refuge for girls, managed by the Chinese
Society, the Po Leung Kuk, organized originally at Hong Kong and
Singapore to put down kidnaping. The Inspector one day, January 4th,
1894, sent a girl of fifteen over to the Refuge with a note to the
Matron, and on the following morning, ordered her sent to the
Lock Hospital for examination. We saw the recorded result of that
examination in the handwriting of the doctor at the hospital, and it
was to the effect that the girl was suffering from disease due to
vice. After that the Matron got a note from the Inspector saying: "Ah
Moi can be written off your books, as she has been sent to hospital,
and after she leaves hospital she intends going to a house of

Now the rules forbade all religious instruction, or any sort of
instruction in this Refuge, since the Chinese men who contributed
to its support were opposed to women being taught anything. But the
Matron had threatened to leave if she could not teach and train the
girls. So she was allowed, out of her own slender salary, to hire a
teacher on her own account, and this she did. The good Christian man
whom she had hired came and told her he had learned that Ah Moi was
a good girl, and was from a Mission School in Canton, and finally he
brought the girl's own mother, who testified that this was true. We
have not space to go into this story in detail, but we later visited
the school at Canton from which the girl had been brought, talked with
the teachers who had had her under their care for years, and it was
literally true,--that she was a perfectly pure girl (and how could she
have been suffering from such a disease?), who had been entrapped for
such a dreadful fate. She would have been put into a life of shame by
the Inspector, never to have escaped her terrible servitude, probably,
but for the energetic efforts of this Chinese Christian man and the
Refuge Matron, who rescued her from the Protectorate and its wicked
business of assigning girls to brothels. And here sat the Inspector,
telling us this story, of which we knew so much, (and learned more at
Canton later), as an instance of the "rescue work" of his office!

Almost the last day of our painful work at Singapore had come. We had
gathered much evidence, and had good hope that something could be
done with it in London. "This is my birth-day," one of us said to the
other, as we spun along in our jinrikshas toward the Refuge. "I think
we ought to have some unusual good fortune in gathering information
today. At least we can get some of these little children taken out of
their terrible peril in the brothels. The Matron of the Refuge says
she _knows_ the officials are ignorant of their presence there. They
have so often talked of their extreme care at that point. Will it not
be good to see something actually done and at once about that matter?
She was to interview the Inspector yesterday, and will report to us
today." And so we chatted on, We had been horrified to encounter in a
single night's work some thirty little girls playing about the rooms
of brothels. That at least would never be allowed. We were so glad the
law was so very strict, and we had been assured strictly enforced at
that point. It read: "Any person who receives a girl under the age of
sixteen into a brothel, or harbors any such girl in a brothel, shall
(until the contrary be proved) be deemed to have obtained possession
of such girl with the intent or knowledge in clause one of sub-section
one mentioned." This clause reads: "with the intent that such girl
shall be used for the purpose of prostitution," and the penalty,
"liability to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to a
fine not exceeding $500, or to both." If that law failed because of
what would pass as proof to the contrary, at any rate there was the
further provision that the children could be removed to places of
safety, at least to the Refuge. "A girl found living in or frequenting
a brothel shall be deemed to be a girl who is being trained for
immoral purposes." And "The Protector, if on due inquiry he is
satisfied that any girl is being ... trained for such purposes, and
that such girl is under the age of sixteen years, may ... order such
girl to be removed to a place of safety," etc., etc. The way seemed
perfectly clear under such laws, to secure the safety of the children.

At the door of the Refuge we were glad to escape from our jinrikshas
into the cool shade of the house. The Matron seemed much troubled, and
spoke of things that she had not understood previously, but now that
she had learned many things from our investigations and from her own
questioning of the girls, they had taken on a painful meaning to her.

Our hearts grew heavier and heavier as we talked together. The
Matron, said: "Why, I thought when I came here it was to do a regular
Christian work for these girls. That was my purpose, but the more I
inquire into the matter, and study over the things I am expected to do
and ask no questions, such as sending girls over to the Lock Hospital
at the Chief Inspector's request, the more I feel that I am being
worked for purposes of which I cannot approve. I cannot stay here."

At last we got to ask her about her talk with the Inspector. "What
did he say when you told him what we discovered the other night--that
little girls go freely to the Licensed Eating Houses, and live in the
brothels?" "Is it really true that the authorities have been deceived,
and did not know of this flagrant violation of the Ordinance to
protect women and girls?"

The Matron's face was sadly troubled. She gazed at us a moment
quietly, and then said:

"He told me, Why, of course he knew about those children. There were
scores of them."

"But will he do nothing about the matter?" we exclaimed.

She replied: "He said: 'What can I do? I caught a whole handful
of them once and sent them to the Lock Hospital, and had them all
examined. The doctor pronounced them all virgins, so I could do
nothing as yet, and I let them all go back.'"

We uttered exclamations of horror.

"A handful!"--did he think no more of them than of so many minnows!

And they had gone through the horrible ordeal at the Lock Hospital!

And he must leave them in the brothels yet for awhile,--until
when?--until, Oh pitiful God!--until they were all "deflowered
according to bargain." And then he might consider the advisability of
doing something.

The head reeled. We felt stilled. We must get out in the fresh morning
breeze. Something broke somewhere about the heart. We went out and
got into our jinrikshas, and went away home as in midnight darkness,
calling upon the name of our God all the way. Life on this
hell-scorched earth has never held the same happy delusions for us
since, but there is a city out of sight "whose Builder and Maker is
God." That we will seek.



During the incumbency of a certain Mayor of San Francisco a surprising
condition of things was brought into existence. There was a large
tract of land in the heart of Chinatown owned by an American family,
relatives, it is declared, of said Mayor, the passages entering
which were deliberately blocked by gates, so as to stop all entrance
excepting to patrons of the place. This section lay between Dupont
and Stockton, Jackson and Pacific streets, and included within its
enclosure Baker and New World alleys, connecting Dupont street with
Sullivan Place, which divided this tract in two. Gates were erected at
the entrance of the two alleys on Dupont street, and two gates blocked
the entrance to Sullivan Place, at the end opening upon Pacific
street. Within this region, both above and below ground, were housed
numbers of Chinese slave girls, particularly in Baker alley, where, it
is said, were placed the young girls of tender years, generally about
fifteen years old, when first brought over the water, or when first
initiated into brothel slavery, having served their apprenticeship
as domestic slaves. We are informed that fully seven-tenths of the
domestic slave girls found in Chinese homes in America--and every
well-to-do Chinese family (except Christians) keeps at least one or
two slaves--end their lives in immorality. Some of them when they
become old enough are seized by their masters as concubines, others
are sent to the brothels. Reports of conditions at Hong Kong which we
have already quoted, speak of the special celebration of the entrance
of a virgin into prostitution, and the high prices paid by patrons for
this initiation, but leave it obscure as to the nationality of the men
who initiate girls into the life of a brothel slave. But Chinese in
San Francisco do not hesitate to make the charge that Chinamen recoil,
through moral sense or superstition, from deflowering a virgin, and
that this horrible privilege is purchased at a special price by the
white, not the yellow patrons of Chinese houses of ill-fame. Baker
alley has probably been the scene of more terrible brutality of this
sort than any other part of San Francisco. Before the rubbish was
cleared away, in the oasis of a broad desert of ashes in the burned
city, we visited this region, and found carpenters busy at the work
of reconstructing brothels. The slave pen was existent again, and we
entered the gateway leading to it and gazed upon the rapidly growing
structures within. Two white men of a class called "Watch-dogs," in
the days before the fire, occupied a sort of look-out and kept guard,
more especially upon the entrance to Baker alley. This region,
so largely of American manufacture, like other sections of San
Francisco's Chinatown, was displayed, by means of Chinatown guides for
pay to tourists, who were led to believe that they were looking upon
_Chinese_ views of life. The truth is, as we have shown in previous
chapters, a display of vice is practically unknown in regions of China
uninfluenced by Western civilization. Almost any wicked man, any
tourist who would pay well, man or woman, could enter this place.
The "Watch-dogs" were kept merely to prevent the entrance of mission
workers to rescue slaves, and these "Watch-dogs" were, and always are,
American, or, at least European men, not Chinese.

There were more "Watch-dogs" than those about Sullivan Place, before
the earthquake in San Francisco,--they were to be found in many
parts, always for the one purpose,--to resist interference with the
enforcement of brothel slavery upon Chinese women. American men
undertook this part of the business, because a certain timidity in
the Chinese character when dealing with American women, and a fear of
arousing race-prejudice, unfitted the Chinaman for coping with the
American women,--Miss Culbertson, the pioneer, now sainted, Miss Lake,
Miss Cameron and Miss Davis, who have fought their brave battles for
many years, to deliver the captives from the hand of the spoilers,
often at the risk of life, unaided for the most part, unappreciated
and unsympathized with, by a guiltily ignorant Christian public, and
too often persecuted by corrupt officials. Yet they have never stood
alone, but have always had the presence of their Master, and the
sympathetic co-operation of a few ardent supporters,--Christian women,
lawyers, magistrates, and other officials.

One of the "Watch-dogs" struck Miss Lake on one occasion. On another,
a "Watch-dog" went boldly up to two policemen to whom a fugitive slave
had appealed for help, seized his prey, and without resistance from
the policemen, carried her bodily back to slavery along the public
street, in view of many spectators. At another time several of them
rushed in upon a scene of rescue, overcame the police officer, and
hurled him down stairs, dealt in the same manner with some men in
the rescue party, and then turned upon the missionary and would have
subjected her to the same treatment. She said firmly: "Do not lay a
hand upon me! I will go out by myself," and overawed, they allowed
her to walk out untouched through their midst into fresh air and to
safety. It is hardly necessary to add that the missionary did not, on
this occasion, get the poor slave.

We have already said, but it bears repeating, that white men as well
as Chinese, resort to these slaves. One rescued girl told of another
captive, bound by night to her bed and to her unwilling task. Think of
the education of the youths of San Francisco in such schools of vice
as this,--what a menace they must necessarily become to the women of
their own family and acquaintance! A young woman managed to get a
request for help sent to a rescue worker. The missionary responded
by a carefully arranged plot for the identification of the girl. It
included the understanding that when the rescuer with the officer
should enter the place, she was to have in her hands, and to raise
to her lips a handkerchief which the missionary had managed to get
conveyed to her. They entered, saw her with the handkerchief held
to her face, at the little soliciting window, but the poor girl had
endured so much that at the sight of friends she lost her nerve and
presence of mind, fluttered her handkerchief, and cried out, "Oh,
teacher!" Alas! a locked door still separated her from her rescuers,
and the plot was exposed. She was dragged back, and became lost to the
rescue party. Other girls who escaped from the den afterwards told of
the rest of the scene. Kick upon kick fell upon her poor little body,
and the enraged owner of the brothel never ceased until she was dead
and mashed almost to a jelly before the eyes of the other inmates, to
teach them a lesson of warning against trying to escape. Let us not
mourn. It was better so than to have been left alive unrescued. The
pity is that the keepers and the "Watch-dogs" hold them alive to their
task as long as they do. The angels of heaven, God's rescue party, are
not far off from such victims, nor His angels of wrath and vengeance
from such inhuman fiends. We wonder how many of the little slaves were
lifted up into a better life than this by the merciful earthquake; and
how many of their masters and outragers saw hell gape and themselves
swallowed up in the horrible earthquake,--God's deliverance or God's
judgment,--according to the character of the individual.

When the missionary enters a den, and by means of some carefully
devised scheme identifies the girl who has had conveyed to the
missionary her desire to be rescued, and attempts to take the girl,
she often screams for help, kicks, fights, bites, scratches, spits,
and sometimes swears at her liberator, but often is secretly clutching
with almost a death-grip the rescuer's hand. She will sometimes fight
at being thrust through the doorway into the street, calling lustily
for help, but whisper to the missionary, "Tell the officer to carry
me out." When once, in spite of the feigned struggle, she is carried
outside, and her pursuers are well behind in the chase, the ruse is
cast aside, and it becomes a race for dear life between the rescuer
and the rescued to make the city of refuge,--the mission home,--and
generally the fugitive gets there first. Once a rescue worker found
her girl secreted with four others in a loft, to which she had been
removed because the brothel-keeper feared an attempt at rescue. She
was so carefully guarded and watched that the poor thing dared not
signify to the missionary that she was the one who wished to be taken,
and all five struggled with equal apparent fierceness against rescue.
What was the missionary to do! She lifted her heart in the despairing
cry, "Oh, God, if ever you heard a human prayer and answered it, for
Christ's sake hear me now! Tell me which one to take!" She instantly
seized one of them, who fought savagely, and bit and scratched and
swore. Out she went with her, and all the way to the mission the girl
abused her terribly. But the instant the door closed behind them and
they were safe inside the home, she fell to the floor, seized her
deliverer's feet and bathed them with her tears, crying bitterly as
she said: "Oh, forgive me, forgive me! You know I did not mean it,
but it was the only way to do to be safe." God had guided aright. No
mistake had been made in the choice. Do you believe God did that,
reader? Try such heroic work for yourself, and you will find
a miracle-working God who seldom reveals His identity to the
self-indulgent. That rescued girl has turned out to be a wonder of
grace and of natural gifts, and is pursuing a professional career now,
after fine opportunities in training. It is worth while to save such
material, even from a slave-pen; such as she enrich the community in
which they live.

This slave-trade could not go on between Hong Kong and the United
States but for the white men who are in it, one way or another. White
lawyers defend the traffickers in court, and secure the return of
slaves by writ of habeas corpus, or by means of false accusations of
various sorts, such as of stealing. It is significant that, with rare
exceptions, the policemen seem not to have been trusted with definite
information as to the place about to be searched or raided, when told
off to accompany a rescue party, lest word be sent ahead, allowing a
chance to spirit away the girl for whom search is instituted. American
men are said to go all the way to Hong Kong to get girls and smuggle
them into the country, as better able to cope with the strict
immigration laws than Chinese. Sometimes they go a long way around to
get a girl into San Francisco,--by Victoria, B.C., through Mexico
and El Paso (Texas), and by other routes. But the price paid for the
slaves assures a good profit to the traders. Since the laws against
Chinese immigration became more stringent, the market price of these
slaves has risen to three thousand dollars, while the more beautiful
ones bring a much higher price. Judges, lawyers, seafaring men,
hirelings of the Immigration Bureau, Chinatown guides, "Watch-dogs,"
officials and policemen, have all been accused of having imbrued their
hands at different times in the slaughter of the virtue of Chinese
women through this wretched slave business, besides the white patrons
of the Chinese slave-pens. But probably none are so guilty of
complicity as the property-owners, who build the places for housing
the slaves, and make enormous profits in the business.

There seems to be a misapprehension as to the status of these Chinese
prostitutes, to which the mind recurs again and again, in spite of
careful explanations. Some imagine that only those who are rescued,
or at least those who have managed to convey word to the missionaries
that they desire to be rescued, are the literal slaves, and that those
left behind are free. Such is not the case. We have already shown that
nearly all the Chinese prostitutes at Singapore and at Hong Kong are
literal slaves, the only exception being, in fact, a small percentage
(estimated at 10 per cent by the Chinese merchants at Hong Kong),
composed almost entirely of women who have mortgaged their own bodies,
or who have been thus mortgaged by relatives, for a limited time
in payment for a debt, and who, at the end of the stated time, are
generally set free, though sometimes they find themselves in a trap
from which there is no escape. It is through the misfortune of debt,
and in countries where Chinese women are cheap, that this mortgaging
of the person takes place. Such conditions do not surround Chinese
women in America, so that this form of service in houses of ill-fame
must be correspondingly rare, and this is according to the testimony
of the missionaries. For this reason, therefore, we may rule out the
temporary servitude, and assert without fear of contradiction from
those who understand the situation, that practically all the Chinese
prostitutes in the United States are literal slaves. Some are
_willing_ slaves, some _unwilling_; and a small fraction of the
unwilling slaves have managed by stroke of good fortune, and because
of unusual courage, to get a request conveyed to a mission, and thus
in some instances they have secured their freedom. But not all who
have appealed for help have been rescued, for they cannot always be
found upon search, and often, when they have been found and their
cases brought up in court, they have been again consigned to the care
of their former owners because courage has failed, and they have
refused in open court to acknowledge that they wished to go free.
One girl who desired to escape fell under suspicion, and her master
decided to remove her to Watsonville, and so defeat her rescue. At the
San Francisco Ferry Station she made a dash for liberty, pursued by
the two men who had her in charge, and ran to a policeman, handing him
a crumpled piece of paper, which proved to be a note that a missionary
had placed in her hand when she landed in America. The officer could
not read the note, in its old and crumpled condition, but divining its
nature he hailed a cab and drove with the girl straight to the mission
door, where she was welcomed.

There were at least five hundred Chinese brothel slaves in San
Francisco before its destruction, and none in Oakland up to that time.
Since the calamity, there have been many in Oakland. They have been
estimated at as high a figure as 300, and must have numbered until
quite recently at least 150. The frontispiece represents a structure
erected for their housing. This building is three stories high, and
occupies every foot of one-half square. It contains more than 600
rooms, and is built throughout of rough boards, one inch thick, on
flimsy beams and studding. It is unlathed and unplastered, a veritable
fire-trap, within four blocks of the County Court House. It could
never have passed inspection had it been erected for _decent_
purposes. When the photograph was taken the building was not
completed. A row of shops has been added at the left, over which is a
large Chinese theatre. A respectable Chinese man of literary pursuits
informed us that the theatre was "to attract custom there." A very
broad stairway, scarcely less imposing than the front entrance to the
theatre, leads down into the alley, and to the brothel. The seats for
women in the theatre are reached by a special door leading to this
alley. The heart of this building is approached through "Washington
Place," an alley, at the entrance of which one encounters a sign, "No
White Men Admitted Here, Only Chinese." This notice, which has been
put up at the entrance of Oriental brothels in Chinatown, has been
ordered by the Chief of Police, it is claimed, to prohibit Americans
associating with Orientals in vice, so as to prevent demoralization
and race quarrels. We do not dispute the motive, but the _effect_
is, that those who would work for the rescue of slaves are kept at a
distance, and no one who is likely to make a complaint against abuses
and law-breaking can approach the place without permission from
the police, which gives ample opportunity for getting everything
objectionable out of sight. As far as prevention of the commingling
of the different races is concerned, that may be hindered at certain
points, but American men are on the inside track here, as to making
money through these slaves. The building has been erected and is
owned by Americans, and one man of European name is a partner in the
immediate management of the place. On our first visit to this building
we were informed on reliable information that there were 125 Japanese
and over 50 Chinese girls in the place, and 100 more were expected to
arrive within a few days. Besides these, there are also Chinese slaves
in almost every Chinese settlement throughout the United States. In
California, they are to be found largely at San Francisco, Oakland,
Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno, Bakersfield, San Jose, Watsonville,
Monterey and Los Angeles. Willing or unwilling, the Chinese prostitute
is none the less a slave, bought and sold at pleasure from one to
another, earning wealth for others and never for herself. Recently,
three girls who were taken from a den in San Francisco, declared that
they had been sold for three thousand dollars apiece to the keeper,
and that they were flogged when their earnings for the keeper fell
below three hundred dollars each a month. If the prostitute were not
willing to be a slave, that would not procure her liberty,--it would
only procure her more abuse than the willing slave. On the ship
coming over, the slaves are well drilled in their task on arrival, of
swearing themselves into slavery, and well threatened if they dare
to disobey. Then they are packed with stories as to the terrible
character of Americans, particularly the rescue workers. One Chinese
girl concluded she would take all the abuse of the rescue home rather
than forego a chance for liberty, though she knew of no reason to
disbelieve the fearful warnings she had received. On the first night
of her arrival she did not undress nor go to bed when the other girls
retired. Someone found her standing about, and asked her why she
was not off for bed. She replied pathetically: "I am waiting for my
beating." She had been informed that it was in that fashion all the
girls were put to bed each night. At a very conservative estimate,
there are not less than one thousand Chinese brothel slaves in
California alone, besides those in the Chinese settlements all over
the United States. When children are born to Chinese prostitutes, they
are seized by the brothel keepers as their own property, the girls
being sold into domestic slavery to be passed on into brothel
slavery at the age of about 15, and the boy babies sold for a good
price--several hundred dollars--to become "adopted" sons. Very many
Chinese men of the United States secure their wives by purchase from
brothels, and as a consequence often have no children by them, hence
the high value of a child who can be purchased for a son. The real
wife and family of the Chinese man generally remain in China, the
matrimonial relations of the man in America being wholly spurious.
This admixture of the brothel element with all Chinese home life in
the United States makes this country very undesirable as a residence
for virtuous Chinese women, and largely discourages the immigration of
respectable Chinese wives, whose presence with their husbands might
greatly tend to the uplifting of the entire Chinese community.

There are probably as many domestic slaves as brothel slaves among the
Chinese of the United States. Every well-to-do heathen Chinese family
keeps a slave or two, and the rich Chinese keep a large number.
Polygamy is practiced, as at Hong Kong, to a larger extent than
prevails generally in China, and it is not uncommon to find a Chinese
in California with from five to seven concubines. The Chinese man
in the United States takes his domestic slave, if he wishes, for a
concubine, or sells his concubines into brothel slavery, if displeased
with them, or wishing to raise a sum of money. It is a burning
disgrace to the United States that this polygamy is not stamped out.
In one case related to us, a girl was taken from a rescue home by a
writ of habeas corpus, and returned by the judge to her position as
second wife of a Chinaman.

During President Hayes' administration, Mr. D.H. Bailey, United States
Consul-General at Shanghai, sent a message to him relating to Chinese
slavery, and the menace to our country from it. He enclosed in his
communication a translation of the Chinese laws relating to slavery,
which is permitted under certain restrictions in that country. Nothing
could exceed their stringency at the point of any resistance on the
part of the slave to the condition of servitude. From that set of laws
we quote the following:

    "If a female slave deserts her master's house she shall be
    punished with 80 blows." ... "Whosoever harbours a fugitive wife
    or slave, knowing them to be fugitives, shall participate equally
    in their punishment." ... "A slave guilty of addressing abusive
    language to his master shall suffer death by being strangled....
    If to his master's relations in the first degree he shall be
    punished with 80 blows and two years' banishment. If to his
    master's relations in the second degree, the punishment shall
    be 80 blows. If in the third degree, 70 blows. If in the fourth
    degree, 60 blows." "The master or the relations of a master of a
    guilty slave may ... chastise such slave in any degree short of
    death, without being liable to punishment. Nevertheless, if
    a master or his aforesaid relations, in order to correct a
    disobedient slave or hired servant, should chastise him in a
    lawful manner on the back of the thighs or on the posteriors, and
    such slave or hired servant should happen to die, or if he is
    killed in any other manner accidentally, neither the master nor
    his aforesaid relations shall be liable to any punishment in
    consequence thereof."

    "All slaves who are guilty of designedly striking their masters
    shall, without making any distinctions between principals and
    accessories, be beheaded.

    "All slaves designedly killing their masters, or designedly
    striking so as to kill their masters, shall suffer death by a slow
    and painful execution.

    "If accidentally killing their masters, they shall suffer death by
    being strangled.

    "If accidentally wounding, they shall suffer 100 blows and
    perpetual banishment to the distance of 3,000 li (1,000 miles).

    "Slaves who are guilty of striking their master's relations in the
    first degree ... shall be strangled.... All slaves who strike so
    as to wound such persons shall ... be beheaded."

The "painful execution" which is the penalty of killing a master,
means execution by slicing the criminal into 10,000 cuts. Foreigners
who have witnessed it say it is too horrible to recite.

It is under such slave laws as these that the young girl is trained
as a brothel slave before she is brought to California. After such
tuition, it seems hardly credible that girls do, in San Francisco,
dare to escape from their masters, and flee to the missions for
protection. Governor C.C. Smith, who was for years the Registrar
General of Hong Kong, previous to being knighted and sent to Singapore
as Governor of the Straits Settlements, replied to the Secretary of
State for the Colonies, in reference to the freedom of prostitutes,
"out of an experience of over a quarter of a century":

    "There are no restrictive regulations on the part of the
    Government which go to prevent or interfere with the entire
    freedom of the inmates of brothels, and they can go abroad alone.
    This statement will not, I hope, deceive you into believing that
    as a consequence they are really free agents ... such is actually
    not the case. A child who strikes its parent is liable to a death
    sentence. The girls in brothels are in the position of daughters
    to the keepers, and ... call them mother. There is no sense of
    freedom, as we understand the term, possible in such a state of
    affairs. The women are fearful of the unknown; of what should
    happen to them if they should disobey their pocket-mothers, and
    are terribly ignorant of everything connected with the Government
    under which they nominally live. It is out of the question to
    educate them up to the English standard of liberty of the subject.
    They stay but a few short years in an English Colony, seeing
    nothing but the worst phases of a life of vice and immorality, and
    only know of the officers of Government as 'foreign devils' or

This is all only too true as regards California also, excepting that
the experiment of educating them by just treatment in the "English
standard of the liberty of the subject," has certainly never been
tried either in Singapore or America. The brothel keepers, however,
have learned to understand that matter of "liberty of the subject"
only too well, and take advantage of the habeas corpus act at every
turn to capture a slave who is trying to escape their clutches.

These words of Governor Smith should be borne in mind and brought to
attention every time our law officers in California put brothel girls
through the farce of asking them if they are desirous of liberty, and
when they say no, proclaim triumphantly to the world that "there isn't
a slave girl in Chinatown." These officers deceive others by these
falsehoods, but they know too well the conditions to be themselves

When certain Chinese girls appeared before a committee appointed to
investigate conditions at San Francisco, the members of the committee
were put under promise not to divulge their names or stories, as
"their lives would not be safe for five years to come," if the
brothel-keepers and their former owners knew that they had informed
against them. It is a little difficult to describe the various secret
societies of Chinatown in full, but for practical purposes and as
relates to the welfare of Chinese women, it may be said that the
secret society, or tong, is a sort of mutual benefit society and has
generally a very commendable sort of name; but it exists to divide the
profits of the trade in women, among other villainies. When anyone
gives any evidence against such a society, or informs a rescue worker
where a girl will be found who desires her liberty, then some one from
the tong that has a special interest in the profits of that girl's
slavery, deposits a sum of money in a place mutually arranged for, and
the highbinder society undertakes for the sum paid to see that the
informer is assassinated within twenty-four hours. That is the length
of time usually claimed for the act. But sometimes years may pass
before the marked victim can be traced and killed.

We will next give a few cases from the records of the Presbyterian and
Methodist Mission Rescue Homes of San Francisco, which will clearly
show the similarity between the state of affairs in Hong Kong and



A Chinese girl of 14 was brought to this country, and served six
months as a domestic slave, and was then put into a brothel. She was
rescued. Her Chinese master got out a writ of habeas corpus, went to
the Mission with an officer and took the girl away at once to court
before a corrupt judge. It was just at noon-time, and the missionary
pleaded for a little time in which to summon a lawyer. The judge said:
"I have no time to fool with this case." The lawyer arrived in haste
and pleaded for a little time in which to prepare the defense. The
judge said to the lawyer: "You shut up, or I'll have you imprisoned
for contempt of Court." He awarded the slave to the care of her

This and other such cases led to a valuable alteration of the law at
the point of the protection of minors. We will explain the change in
the words of Miss Cameron:

    "In years past it was necessary in each case to in a way break
    the _letter_ though not the _spirit_ of the law when we rescued a
    Chinese child, for there was no written law to uphold us in
    entering a house and carrying off a child--then, too, before
    it was possible to carry out guardianship proceedings, the
    ever-available writ of habeas corpus would in many cases deliver
    the child back into the care of the Chinese, until the matter
    could be settled in the Superior Court--in such instances we
    seldom won our case. Our attorney saw wherein the difficulty lay,
    and proposed an amendment to the law of the State in the matter of
    the guardianship of minor children, which would give power to a
    presiding judge to sign an order to the Sheriff, commanding him
    immediately to take into custody the child whose name appeared
    on the warrant and place her in the care of those applying for
    guardianship, until such time as the hearing could be had."

This means of protection for minors was secured by the combined
efforts of mission workers and their friends. This explanation will
prepare the way for a rehearsal of some cases of rescue which
might puzzle the reader as being carried out by unusual methods of

The following cases are from the records of the Methodist Home for
Chinese Girls, located, since the earthquake, at Berkeley:

    No. 1. Made the following statement: "I am 12 years old; born
    in Canton; father a laborer; mother a nurse; parents very poor.
    Mother fell sick, and in her need of money sold me. Took me to
    Hong Kong and sold me to a woman; saw the money paid, but do not
    know how much; it looked a great deal. This was 3 years ago. The
    woman promised my mother to make me her own daughter, and little
    did my mother know I was to be a slave, to be beaten and abused by
    a cruel mistress. My mother cried when she left me; it was very
    hard to part. The big ship, 'City of Pekin,' took me soon out of
    sight. I have heard that she is now dead. On arriving we did not
    come ashore immediately. I was landed after 4 days. There was
    trouble in landing me. I had a red paper, bought at Hong Kong,
    that they called a certificate, and there was trouble about it.
    The woman who bought me had no trouble getting ashore because she
    had lived in California before. She told me what I was to say when
    I was questioned. She told me I must swear I was her own daughter.
    The Judge asked, 'Is this your own mother?' and I said, 'Yes.'
    This was a lie, but I did not know it was wrong to do as I was
    told, and I was afraid of my mistress. The Judge said, 'Did this
    woman give you birth?' and I said, 'Yes.' The Judge said, 'Did
    anybody tell you to say all this?" and I said, 'No,' because my
    mistress had instructed me how to answer this question, if it was
    asked me. She taught me on ship-board what to say if I was taken
    to court. My mistress was an opium smoker, and she and her husband
    had awful quarrels, which made her bad-tempered, and then she
    would beat me for no reason. I used to get so tired working hard,
    and then she would beat me. She beat me with thick sticks of
    fire-wood. She would lay me on the bench, lift my clothes, and
    beat me on the back. Another day she would beat me thus with the
    fire tongs. One day she took a hot flat-iron, removed my clothes,
    and held it on my naked back until I howled with pain. (There
    was a large scab on her back from this burn when she came to the
    Mission.) The scars on my body are proof of my bad treatment. My
    forehead is all scars caused by her throwing heavy pieces of wood
    at my head. One cut a large gash, and the blood ran out. She
    stopped the bleeding and hid me away. She beat my legs one day
    until they were all swollen up. I thought I better get away before
    she killed me. When she was having her hair washed and dressed I
    ran away. I had heard of the Mission, and inquired the way and
    came to it. A white man brought me here. I am very happy now."
    While being brought to the Mission by this gentleman, she laid
    hold of his coat, and would not let go until she was safely
    inside. It is significant that in this case and the following,
    methods of punishment allowed even unto death by Chinese law, are
    administered by the mistresses of slaves in America.

    No. 2. "One day I was playing in the street near my home in
    Canton, and a man kidnaped me. He said: 'Come with me; your mother
    told me to take you to buy something for her, and you are to take
    it back.' I have never seen my father and mother since. In 3 or 4
    days I was taken to the Hong Kong steamer. I dared not cry on the
    street, but on board the steamer I cried very much. The kidnaper
    said: 'Don't you cry, or you will have the policeman after you,
    and they'll take you off to the foreign devils' prison.' At Hong
    Kong he sold me to a woman, and after staying at her house a few
    days she brought me to California. I had a yellow paper given me,
    but I don't know what it was. The woman told me I must say I was
    born in California. I came here last winter. I am 11 years old.
    I don't remember the name of the steamer. The woman sold me to
    another woman. I had to work as cook, and nurse her little
    bound-footed child, who was strapped to my back to carry. The
    child I carried was 9 years old; and I was 11. My mistress was
    very cruel. Often she took off all my clothes, laid me on a bench
    and beat me with a rattan until I was black all over. Then she
    said: 'I will get rid of you and sell you.' The keeper of a
    brothel came to buy me, and look me over to see how much I was
    worth. A Chinaman living next door, knowing how I was treated and
    that I was going to be put in a brothel, when I saw him in the
    passageway, asked me if I wished to come to the Mission, and I
    said 'Yes.' My mistress had gone out into the next room, leaving
    her daughter and another slave girl in the room. I said I would go
    at once, and he brought me. I am very glad to live here and lead a
    good life."

    No. 3. The rescuer was requested to meet a girl at the corner of
    Stockton and Jackson streets. She did so. K---- Y---- was comely
    and refined looking. She had been sold into a brothel at a tender
    age. When about 22 she met a young Chinese man who wished to marry
    her, and he paid down $600 for her, promising $1,400 more in time.
    Another man objected to the sale, because the girl had mortgaged
    herself to him for $600. Through the Mission the girl was released
    from her bondage, and remained at the Mission one year and then
    married the first man, and they left San Francisco and resided for
    a time in an inland town. Here an effort was made to kill her in
    her own garden one evening. Her husband brought her back to San
    Francisco, and later she went back to China.

    No. 4. Came from a brothel on Spofford alley. She was occasionally
    allowed to attend the (Chinese) theatre. One evening when at the
    theatre she had word conveyed to the Mission to come get her
    immediately. The rescuer did so, and the girl promptly arose, when
    the rescuer entered the room, from the front tier of seats, and
    seizing the hand of the missionary in the presence of them
    all climbed over the backs of two seats, regardless of their
    occupants, and escaped. Later she was married and returned to

    No. 5. In a dark, dismal room where the sun never shone lay a poor
    Chinese woman helpless with rheumatism. She had a baby girl 10
    months old and was too sick to care for it. The invalid felt
    forced to put the child in the hands of a friend she trusted, who
    promised to care for it, and advanced money for the sick woman.
    When the mother got better she worked two years and saved until
    she had enough money to buy the child back, but the cruel woman
    who had got possession of it refused to give it up unless paid
    three times as much as was originally borrowed. The mother could
    not do this, and finally, hearing of the Mission, reported the
    case there. The baby was traced to a horrible den in Church alley,
    where it was in the possession of a notorious brothel-keeper. The
    mother secretly visited the Matron at the Mission, who had secured
    the child, urging her to keep possession of the baby, saying she
    would not dare testify against the woman on the witness stand, as
    it would cost her her life. The case was a long time in court, but
    after six months the Judge committed the child to the Home, and
    the mother was made very happy.

    No. 6. She ran into the Mission leading her little son. She was
    chased to the very door of the Mission, but kept her pursuers
    at bay, by means of a policeman's whistle which she held in her
    mouth, walking backward and threatening to blow it if they dared
    touch her child. She was a widow with this only child, and her
    relatives were bound to sell her into an immoral life and take the
    boy away. After being in the Mission a few months she became a
    Christian. Her little boy was placed in an orphanage. Later the
    widow married respectably.

    No. 7. This girl was aged 14 when rescued, and had been placed in
    a vile life four weeks before. Two days later she was taken to
    court on a writ of habeas corpus. Her case was put off three
    times, and finally came to trial. The Judge remanded the girl to
    the custody of the M.E. Mission Home. He said, on dismissing the
    case, that never in all his experience had he listened to such
    perjury, and that the alleged mother should be punished to the
    fullest extent of the law for her lying. The girl seemed very
    happy and contented in the Home, but nine days after she was
    committed to it she was again taken out on a writ of habeas
    corpus and appeared before another Judge, who returned her to the
    brothel-keeper. (This was before the new guardianship law came
    into operation).

No. 8 proves that the buying and selling of children takes place in
America up to the present day. It is but one instance of this sort out
of scores of others given by the missionary:

    "She was sold when she was but four weeks and five days old. Her
    parents being very poor and having several other children, she was
    disposed of to a man who was a friend of the father. The wife,
    however, was an inmate of an immoral house. Part of the time the
    child was kept there and part of the time in a family house where
    we often saw her in our rounds of visiting prior to the earthquake
    and fire. We did not know but that she belonged to the family in
    whose care we saw her.

    "After the fire the man returned to China, leaving the woman and
    child. The woman took to abusing the child, and word was brought
    to us of the condition of things. We appeared on the scene one
    morning about 10 o'clock with an officer. Leaving him outside, we
    entered, and found the woman and child eating breakfast. Three
    other women and two men soon came in. After talking for a while I
    saw the woman was anxious to get the child away from the table, so
    I informed her we had come to take her, and proceeded to do so,
    catching the child up and darting into the street, leaving my
    interpreter and the officer to follow. We ran several blocks,
    followed by the irate woman. Finally hailing a man with a horse
    and wagon, we sprang in and were driven away to where we could
    take the street cars for home. The child did some screaming and
    crying, at first. But once we were seated in the street car, her
    tears were dried and her little tongue rattled along at a rapid
    rate; she was delighted to get away.

    "The case was in court for some weeks, but the woman was afraid
    to appear, and had no one to assist her but the lawyer, and as he
    could not prove any good reason why the child should remain with
    an immoral woman, we were given the guardianship."

    No. 9. A young girl came to San Francisco from China as a
    merchant's wife, and missionaries used to visit her at her home in
    Chinatown. Once when they went they were told that the wife had
    gone to San Jose, but she could not be traced at the latter place,
    and the missionary was suspicious. A year passed, and one night
    the door bell at the Mission rang, and when it was opened
    a Chinese girl fell in a faint from exhaustion, across the
    threshold. A colored girl stood by her holding her by the cue.
    The colored girl said she saw her running, and divined where she
    wished to go, and seizing her by the hair to prevent her being
    dragged back, rushed her to the Mission. It was the merchant's
    young wife. She had been confined in a brothel not two blocks from
    the Mission, and often saw the missionary pass by, but had no
    means of attracting her attention. The merchant told her one day
    that he wished to take her to a cousin to learn a different way of
    dressing her hair, and he would leave her there a day or two while
    he was away from town on business. The young wife went without
    fear, but never to return to virtue until she escaped to the
    Mission. She was tied to a window by day to attract custom, and at
    night tied to a bed, for she was no willing slave. When rescued
    she was horribly diseased. Three days before her rescue, the
    Chief of Police and an interpreter had gone through the house
    questioning every inmate as to whether they wished to lead a life
    of shame or not. She was asked the question in the presence of the
    brothel-keeper, the head mistress, and all the girls. She had been
    told beforehand, "If you dare say you want to escape, we will kill
    you." The Chief of Police had it announced in the papers that
    he had made this investigation, and that no slaves existed in
    Chinatown. Immediately after his visit, she was removed to a
    family house, lest her rescue might be effected, and one man and
    two women set to watch her day and night. She feigned willingness
    to lead a bad life, and the two women, lulled into a sense of
    security, turned aside to gossip, while the man dropped off
    asleep. She suddenly rushed out of the house, and but for the
    quick wit and good offices of the colored girl might have missed
    the way to a safe harbor.

The following are cases of rescue reported from the Mission Home of
the Occidental Board of Missions of the Presbyterian Church:

    No. 1. Qui Que. This little girl was taken from a gambling den
    at Isleton, a small town on the Sacramento river. The woman who
    brought her from China died, and she was thus left to the care of
    this gang of gamblers. When Miss Cameron and her escort arrived at
    the house, the little girl of six or seven years sat on a table
    rolling cigarettes for the men who sat around it gambling. They
    were taken by surprise, and before they quite understood the
    situation the rescuers were gone with the little girl. When they
    discovered this, they fired several shots after the party, but no
    harm was done. The officer, with one hand on his revolver, drove
    rapidly for the boat landing, and Qui Que, safe in Miss Cameron's
    arms, will probably never know the danger risked in securing her

    No. 2. Ngun Fah. This child was a domestic slave in the family of
    a well-to-do merchant in Chinatown, but so cruelly was the child
    overworked and abused that the matter was finally reported to the
    Mission, and little Ngun Fah rescued. When found at the home of
    her master, she was in a most pitiable condition. Weary from hard
    work and worn out with crying, after the cruel punishment which
    had just been administered, the lonely little girl crawled on to
    the hard wooden shelf which served as a bed, and with no covering
    but the dirty, forlorn garment worn through the day, had dropped
    off to sleep. Thus she was easily captured and carried to the
    Mission, where upon examination it was found that her head had
    been severely cut from blows administered with a meat knife, the
    hair was matted with blood and the child's whole body was covered
    with filth, and showed signs of former punishments. After the
    first fears of "being poisoned" were allayed, Ngun Fah expressed
    herself as being very happy to be rescued from the suffering
    and weariness of her life in Chinatown. Her master sent many
    emissaries to the Home with offers of bribes, and many promises
    of better treatment in the future, but all these overtures were
    rejected, and when at length the matter of guardianship came up,
    there was no one present to claim the child but her new friends at
    the Mission Home.

    No. 3. Suey Ying. Our dear baby was surely sent to dispel any
    clouds of sadness which may be hovering round, for she takes all
    of life as a huge joke. And where did Suey Ying come from? From a
    part of Chinatown, dear friend, that you would not dare to enter,
    and the strangest thing about her coming is that she was carried
    to the Home by a fugitive slave woman, who was escaping to China.
    Long ago this woman had spent a day or two in the Mission and was
    impressed by the happy life of the children here and by the kind
    treatment she herself received. Later on she purchased for $120
    a little baby girl. She grew to love the tiny waif, and when at
    length troubles of many kinds drove her to sudden flight across
    the ocean, instead of selling the baby she brought it to this Home
    of happy memory and asked that we keep it always.

    No. 4. How Wan. A frail young girl with bound feet was brought to
    this country to be the wife of a man who had died while she was
    en route. Refused a landing, she was detained in the Mission by
    immigration officials, while the young man's parents made frantic
    efforts to secure her admission to the country. She remained here,
    a prisoner, for two years. Thousands of dollars were expended
    without avail, and How Wan was deported. Nothing daunted, they
    accompanied her as far as Japan, and returned with her, secured a
    license and landed her as a merchant's wife. She lived with
    the family in a dark basement on Sacramento street, where the
    mother-in-law abused her with such cruelty that, shrinking girl as
    she is, she found courage to send word to us if we did not come
    to her rescue she must relieve herself by suicide--the Chinese
    woman's only hope. We began at once to plan to get her taken to
    the steamer to hid good-bye to some friends, and rescued her
    at the Pacific Mail dock. She is now a grateful member of our
    household family, and is unbinding her feet.

    No. 5. During the St. Louis Exposition a Chinese company brought
    from China a large number of women for exhibition in the Fair.

    Four of these, upon learning that they were not to be returned at
    the close of the exposition, as agreed, but were destined to be
    sold into houses of prostitution in San Francisco, refused to
    land, and were brought to the Mission by the Commissioners of

    These Chinese were arrested, the case tried in Federal Court,
    these girls being the principal witnesses; yet twelve supposedly
    good men dismissed the criminals, and the case was lost.

    Surrounded by the genial environment of our Mission, the minds of
    these four girls unfolded in a remarkable manner; fascinated with
    their studies, they constantly begged us to intercede with the
    authorities that they might remain in the Mission and obtain an
    education; but, although every effort was made, they were deported
    after a seven months' stay.

    They had learned to love our Home life, had united with our
    Christian Endeavor Society and had become interested in all our
    work, and we would be quite unreconciled to their departure did we
    not know that our missionaries in Shanghai stand ready to receive
    and care for them when they arrive.

    No. 6. Seen Fah. The first beams of the rising sun shone bright
    and hopefully into a pleasant room in the Presbyterian Mission
    Home one morning last autumn. It threw its cheerful radiance over
    a group of three gathered there to plan an important undertaking,
    lighting the bright, eager faces of two young Chinese girls, and
    giving renewed courage to the anxious heart of the Superintendent.
    What important event had to be discussed? What serious matter
    decided? News had reached the Mission Home, a few hours before,
    of a young Chinese girl just landed in San Francisco and sold for
    three thousand dollars. Plans to save this helpless and innocent
    child, before it was too late, were the subject of discussion at
    that early morning meeting. In such a serious undertaking every
    possibility of failure must be carefully guarded against. Each
    possible device of the wily Highbinder slave-owner must he
    conjectured and frustrated. So the three planned this campaign:
    "When is Detective ---- coming?" asked Chan Yuen, as a step sounded
    on the quiet street below. "At six he promised to be here with one
    of his trustiest men. It is best to reach Chinatown early, that
    our coming may not be signaled by those on the streets at a later
    hour. If the alarm is given, every slave den will be doubly bolted
    and barred; and perhaps little Seen Fah, whom we wish to save,
    will be spirited away beyond reach of help." Well did the
    questioner know the terrible truth of these words. A sympathetic
    shade of sorrow and anxiety crossed her bright face. She, too, was
    a rescued girl and had not forgotten the dark, mysterious ways
    of Chinatown. The Superintendent rose to answer the summons of a
    small electric bell. Two trusted detectives had arrived. After
    a short conference, the rescuing party set forth on its strange
    mission. One who had eagerly thought and planned for the success
    of the undertaking felt her heart throbbing between hope and fear,
    but was reassured when a slender hand slipped into hers and a
    sweet, encouraging voice whispered: "I have faith to believe God
    will give us the girl." Faith triumphed that day. Through two of
    Chinatown's most desolate old tenements, upstairs and downstairs
    in dark closets and unexpected corners, while Highbinders uttered
    imprecations in the alleys below, the rescue party kept up a
    diligent search for many hours. When at last the quest was about
    to be abandoned as hopeless, suddenly a cry of success echoed
    through every gloomy corner of the old building--Seen Fah was
    found! A small, dark closet, overlooked in the earlier hours of
    the search, was discovered. A lighted candle soon revealed a pile
    of empty rice bags and broken boxes. Pulling these away, the
    object of the long search was discovered, nearly smothered beneath
    the debris. Dazed and terrified, but safe, Seen Fah was at last
    in the hands of friends--and the slave ring had lost just three
    thousand dollars. Later on, Seen Fah and her new friends were
    haled into court. As usual, the sleek, well-paid attorney appeared
    for the Chinese owners. But they and he were alike powerless to
    drag back into slavery the rescued girl. There was but one course
    for the court to pursue. _Finding that Seen Fah was over fourteen,
    she was allowed to choose for herself_ between the life of
    Chinatown and that offered by the Mission. She chose the Christian
    Home; so to its care Judge Cook consigned her. To-day, a free
    happy girl, Seen Fah joins gayly in the simple, wholesome life
    of her new surroundings. Rescued before the blight of slavery
    actually darkened her life, she will never fully understand from
    how great a danger her guardian angel snatched her. But we who do
    know thank daily the kind Providence who thus protects His own.

    No. 7. Kum Ping. She was married in the American Consulate at Hong
    Kong in the most approved European way. Her new husband had made
    a good impression on the old aunt who was her guardian, and for a
    small consideration in Mexican coin, Kum Ping became his property
    according to Chinese custom, as well as his legal wife by
    American law. When these arrangements were completed, passage was
    immediately engaged on the Korea, bound for that harbor of
    romance, San Francisco Bay. There was, however, to be little
    romance in the life of our small Chinese heroine. The man who made
    her his wife did so simply as a means toward an end, and that end
    was to be a life of slavery and degradation in California. The
    landing of slave girls in free America is prohibited by law, thus
    the slave-dealers must resort to the best means at their command
    to thwart or circumvent our laws. A witnessed marriage in China
    gives an American-born Chinaman the right to land his wife in this
    country, so many an innocent village girl crosses the ocean secure
    in the belief that she is the honored wife of a respectable
    husband. She is landed as such, and, alas! often finds out
    when too late that she is merely the chattel of an evil and
    unscrupulous Highbinder society, whose paid agent is the man to
    whom she is bound. Soon after the Korea's arrival in port, on the
    voyage in which we are interested, I visited the ship to interview
    the Chinese women on board, and there for the first time met our
    little dark-eyed friend, Kum Ping. She had been carefully coached
    on the way as to the visits she might receive from foreign
    missionaries, and the replies to all our questions showed a
    guarded suspicion that seemed quite hopeless. Our cheerful
    interpreter talked on, nevertheless, and finally won a quiet smile
    and the offer of some roast duck (a great delicacy among Chinese).
    All warnings about the dangers and wickedness of Chinatown
    apparently fell on deaf ears. "I am a married woman, my husband
    can take care of me. I do not need your protection!" was the
    rather indignant response. So we presented some bright flowers as
    a token of good will and friendship, and with them slipped into
    the small, soft hand a talisman that might help her out of future
    trouble. Just a slip of paper, but the magic of the name and
    number written there many an escaped slave girl can bear witness
    to. Some weeks passed by after our visit to Kum Ping on the
    steamer. She had landed, and, like hundreds of others, had simply
    disappeared from view in that place of many mysteries, old
    Chinatown. One night perhaps a month later, I was called to the
    reception room to see a strange visitor (Chinese) who refused to
    divulge either name or business to any one else. On meeting this
    messenger I noticed his great excitement and nervousness. Only
    after the door was tightly shut did he tell his errand. We
    listened with interest to his story of a young girl sold to a very
    cruel master, who beat her daily and never allowed her to leave
    the place in which she was closely guarded. Unless relief came
    soon she must end her life. Would the Mission try to save this
    poor girl? We gladly promised what help we could give, and our
    visitor left as quickly and mysteriously as he came, only leaving
    for our guidance a roughly sketched diagram of alley and house
    where the little captive could be found. There followed much
    planning and plotting. Our staunch friend, Sergeant Ross of the
    Chinatown squad, was summoned and consulted. The place was a
    difficult one to reach, but at last satisfactory plans were made,
    the day and hour set. There were three officers and three Chinese
    girls from the Mission. It was a good-sized rescue party and
    divided into three companies, we guarded well the three exits from
    the low-roofed house on Spofford alley. With Sergeant Ross leading
    and our courageous young interpreter at our side, we stealthily
    ascended the dark, narrow stairs to the second floor, where a
    heavy door barred the way, but for such obstacles our good officer
    was prepared. A few blows of his strong hammer made bolts and bars
    yield. We passed through into a small dark passage. From there
    could be heard on all sides sounds of excitement; light feet
    running hither and thither to places of escape, only to be turned
    back by the sight of our guards, who stood on watch. As we
    cautiously felt our way further in we were met by the baffled and
    angry keeper of the den--a woman, but not worthy the name. She
    fiercely demanded our business--there was no need to tell it,
    for she knew as well as we; but she wished to find some means of
    hindering our search for her newest and most valuable slave. A
    room was at length discovered in which we felt sure the treasure
    was hidden. Again Sergeant Ross had to force open a door. As it
    gave way, a small, dimly-lighted room opened before us. In the
    center cowered a Chinese girl. It needed not a second look to
    recognize in the frightened, anxious face before me Kum Ping of
    the steamer. Our talisman had worked its charm. She had proved
    to the depths the terrible truth of our warning, and now gladly
    entrusted herself to our care, while her almost frantic owner
    stormed, threatened and at last laid violent hands on the officer
    who was helping us. As we led the trembling Kum Ping out, a
    greatly excited crowd of chattering Chinese met us at the end of
    the passage at Spofford alley, and the news passed from lip to
    lip, "The Mission people have taken Woon Ha's new slave girl!" We
    would be glad to end the story of our little friend's troubles and
    safe escape with her arrival at last in the Mission Home that day.
    But how few rescues ever do end in that peaceful and pleasant way!
    There followed the usual train of lawyers and warrants. To avoid
    these unpleasant experiences, Kum Ping had to change her place of
    residence several times, the last time being the night before the
    fatal eighteenth of April. A warrant was served at ten o'clock
    that night, but being forewarned, the one named in it was with
    friends at some distance from the city. The warrant summoned us to
    court at two o'clock next day. God disposed of that case! No court
    has ever passed judgment on it. Long after the excitement of these
    days was over, Kum Ping returned to our Home; country air and a
    free life are working their spell. It is hard to recognize in the
    round, sun-tanned, happy face we see today, the unhappy slave girl
    of Woon Ha's den on Spofford alley.



It is a matter of no small importance that the Christian public of
America should realize that in the Oriental slavery of its Pacific
Coast it faces a flood. One can gaze with indifference upon a little
stream that trickles through a wall, so long as it is thought to be
merely a natural spring of water; but when one is informed that this
is the trickling of water through a dike which dams out the raging
sea, the sensations are changed to a realizing sense of imminent
peril. If some are disposed to criticise this book for leading its
readers into past history and far distant countries, to tell them
harrowing tales, let them know it is intended to take them for a view
behind the dike,--that they may understand the source of the trickling
stream of brothel slaves that, almost unobserved, flows steadily into
our fair land, and know that the stream is the precursor of a flood.
No mere wall of immigration restrictions will ever get control of the
flow so long as men are permitted to hold slaves after they have once
been landed. And for the further reason, that so soon as China and
Japan have drilled a little longer with the fire-arms furnished them
by Western nations, they will force a free entrance to America. The
yellow flood is sure to come, and we must make ready for it. We must
realize what may happen to American women if almond-eyed citizens,
bent on exploiting women for gain, obtain the ballot in advance of
educated American women. We must realize how impossible it is to
throttle this monster, Oriental Brothel-Slavery, unless we take it
in its infancy. For these reasons, we wish to sound the cry long and
loud: "At once to arms! Not a moment to be lost! We cannot build a dam
in the midst of the raging sea. The new dam must be finished before
the old one bursts."

And beside the peril arising directly from the flood of Orientals who
are accustomed to dealing with women as chattels, there will be the
peril from a debased American manhood. Men cannot live in the midst of
such slavery as this, tolerate it, defend it, make gain through it,
patronize it, without losing all respect for woman and regard for her

And then, the slave business is fast becoming a vested interest of
large dimensions to American men as well as to Chinese. There are
fully as many (probably more) Japanese slaves as Chinese in the United
States, and at the moderate reckoning that they are worth three
thousand dollars each, that represents six million dollars in capital;
and at the present time the Japanese traffic is more threatening
to the United States than the Chinese, with which alone this book

[Footnote A: When we undertook the task of writing this book we
intended to include in it also a representation of the Japanese
slave-trade, but have been obliged to desist for want of space.]

In these latter days, when everything in the business line tends to
take on the form of trusts and combines, bent on defeating all law and
exploiting the common people for gain, it casts a shadow of gloom over
one's spirits to think of capitalists entering so largely upon the
active culture and development of vice for pecuniary profit. This can
no longer be looked upon as an evil due to the frailty of human nature
and the strength of the sex appetite; it is rather the expression of a
greed for gold, and should be actively combated as such. The owners
of property, especially those who have a monopoly in the matter of
housing vice because of municipal measures for its segregation, are
most potent offenders against decency, and should be punished as such,
instead of their being admitted, as too often they are, not only to
good society, but to membership on the church roll.

No individual can afford to be indifferent and ignorant as to the
existence of social vice in the community. The only escape from moral
blight and confusion is by active conflict with the forces of evil.
The wrong training of youths who grow up in the presence of tolerated
evils, cannot be overcome in a single generation, nor in a single
century. There is a confusion of the moral sense in the presence of
evil to which one has become accustomed, that is truly terrible.

When it was first learned in England that such an official had been
appointed at Singapore and Hong Kong as the inspector of brothels, the
matter could scarcely gain credence. Mr. Benjamin Scott, Chamberlain
of the City of London, in his valuable book, "A State Iniquity,"
in mentioning this exclaims: "Her Majesty's Inspector of Brothels!
Curiosity is aroused to inquire what were the attributes, duties, rank
and status of this official. From the evidence taken by the Commission
[at Hong Kong], we gather that he kept a register of 'Queen's Women,'
and saw that their names were duly inscribed on the door-posts of the
Government establishments, as lawyers' names are inscribed on nests of
Chambers in the Temple, and those of merchants and traders are written
on offices in the City. He comptrolled the receipt of the fees paid by
the women into the Colonial Treasury.... But, what was the fashion of
his uniform? Did he attend the receptions of His Excellency and
the Port Admiral? Was he allowed precedence of chaplains, or how
otherwise? and was he expected to dine with the Bishop? Was he
decorated on the abolition of his office, and allowed a good service
pension? or is he still in the service of 'our religious and gracious
Queen?'" That officer still remains in the service of the Government,
both at Singapore and at Hong Kong. By the ruse of denominating all
the tasks connected with the Government management of immoral houses
at Singapore "protection," the Chief Inspector of brothels in this
place holds a more honored place in the community than at Hong Kong.
As to Mr. Scott's ironical questions in regard to that officer's
rank, we cannot answer, nor whether he is invited to the Governor's
receptions; but Mr. Scott would have been astounded, indeed, had
he, like ourselves, first met the Chief Inspector of brothels at a
reception given to ministers of the Gospel and missionaries; had he,
like ourselves, been introduced to the official by a minister of the
Gospel than whom none stands higher in British India, and that in
terms of eulogy of the Inspector's activity in Christian work. How
can we explain such a state of affairs? Just as we would explain the
religiousness of early days of America and England associated with the
monstrous cruelty of the slave traffic. There is often in connection
with great human wrong great moral confusion, and without judging the
individuals living under such conditions, we can say emphatically,
those conditions are most undesirable, and attended by moral peril,
especially to the young. It is a truly lamentable thing when prolonged
familiarity with vicious conditions leads to such lack of discernment
as to a man's true character, even among the best portion of a
community. We do not wish such a state of things as this in America.

California does not lack in excellent laws (as they read, in the
Statute Book), for the suppression of prostitution. There are laws
against procuring; against trading in Oriental women for evil
purposes; against buying or selling a female, with or without her
consent, for prostitution; against a husband forcing or influencing a
wife to lead an evil life; against a husband even consenting to his
wife practicing prostitution; against keeping a house of ill-fame; and
against knowingly renting a house for a place of prostitution. But all
these laws, almost the world over, as well as in California, are weak
at one point, namely, that they provide for imprisonment _or_ fine,
whereas they should provide for imprisonment _and_ fine. This is not
because the penalty would then be heavier, of necessity, but in order
that the law may not be prostituted into license. The alternative of
a fine instead of imprisonment defeats the object the public-spirited
citizens have in demanding a law for the discouragement of vice, and
places before the police officials a temptation to corruption. A mild
sentence, which invariably puts the procurer or brothel-keeper in
prison, is worth more than a heavy sentence by way of fine, which can
be met by further oppression of his slaves. Besides, the heavier the
sentence threatened, if there be an alternative fine, the more potent
implement it furnishes for blackmail in the hands of corrupt police
officials. Penalties by means of fines invariably tend to degenerate
into a monthly squeeze to the police, in payment for toleration, and
thus tend to make the police official a defender of social vice,
rather than an exterminator.

It has always been considered, among experienced workers, a most
difficult thing to attack prostitution itself by means of penalties,
for the reason that the punishment is invariably visited with greatest
severity upon the head of the female partner in shame, who is often
the mere victim, while the male partner goes free. But surely
those men who make a business of cultivating vice and vicious
practices,--who use every sort of device to corrupt the youth and
develop the trade in women, can be reached by just and wholesome laws.
We cannot make men moral by act of parliament, but we can restrict
their depredations.

It has long been our feeling that every form and kind of spurious
marriage, such as bigamy, polygamy, illegal divorce and remarriage,
seduction, adultery, and bastardy, besides constituting sometimes
cause for civil action, might with good results be lifted into
offenses against the State. National development depends not upon
the individual but upon the _family unit_, and that family unit is
non-existent outside the monogamous relation, or, at least, is so
frail as to easily crumble. Nothing could be more vicious in moral
education to the youth than the average suit for civil damages, in
which the whole decision of the case is made to depend upon whether
some young girl can or cannot be ruined in reputation by lawyers
of the defense and by their client, concerning whom there is not a
question as to their lack of a decent reputation. When the State rises
to defend itself against counterfeit marriage, just as it defends
itself against counterfeit coin, then the whole horizon of the life of
a profligate woman will not be brought before the public gaze every
time she comes into court, but will be kept in deserved obscurity, and
the woman will be tried for a _single_ offense, just as the man is
tried, and not for all the offenses and indiscretions of a life-time.
The penalty for such wrong doing may not be placed at even so high a
figure in the Statute Book as it now stands, while accounted a civil
injury, but the dignity of the trial would give serious lessons
in virtue to the youth. No nation can long exist that does not
incessantly discourage the practice of every sort of offense against
the sanctity of the marriage relation.

But after all, there will be no success in attempting to cope with
Oriental prostitution by means of laws against prostitution and
kindred vices, for the reason that the evil is a far graver one than
this. Innocent children are reared for vice, and at a certain age
thrust into the life through no choice of theirs; and not infrequently
perfectly respectable women of mature years are kidnaped for the vile
service. The effect upon the moral character of a man who resorts to
a _slave_ class of victims to his evil propensities, must be to make
that man a menace to society wherever he goes, through deeds of
violence which he is willing to commit, and accustomed to commit, of
the worst imaginable sort.

And an attack upon the slave _traffic_ alone will never prove
adequate. The history of our country's dealing with negro slavery
is instructive on this point. There were laws in abundance for the
suppression of the _traffic_ between Africa and America; it was
forbidden to bring slaves into the country, and devices were invented
looking to an eventual liberation of all the slaves in certain
regions; but what did all these amount to, so long as slavery could
exist? There had to be one sweeping, general emancipation of slaves
wherever they were found, under whatever circumstances, and when the
state of slavery was abolished, the trade in slaves died a natural
death. The words of Mr. Francis concerning conditions at Hong Kong
bear directly on this point: "Until the system of prostitution which
prevails in this Colony ... is declared to be _slavery_, and treated
and punished as such in Hong Kong, no stop will ever be put to the
kidnaping of women and the buying and selling of female children in
Hong Kong. This buying and selling and kidnaping is only an effect, of
which the existing system of Chinese prostitution is the cause."

In 1880, Mr. Berry, a member of the House of Representatives from
California, made use, in a debate in the House, of the argument that
"if the British authorities had not been able to prevent slavery from
being practiced in Hong Kong, there would be great danger that, if an
unlimited immigration of Chinese were allowed, it would be followed by
the prevalence of slavery in this country."

It is perfectly true that immigration of Chinese, even though it has
been greatly restricted, has been followed by the introduction of
slavery into the United States, yet the premises laid down in this
argument, may not pass unchallenged, for the following reasons: There
was never any serious attempt to put down slavery at Hong Kong,
excepting in the efforts of Sir John Smale and perhaps one or two
others, whose efforts were opposed by others, and in large part
defeated. The records go to show that there was at once a growth of
healthy moral sentiment created among the Chinese, through Sir John
Smale's endeavor, that promised much good for the future had his
course of action been continued. This official planted his feet
squarely upon the doctrine that all buying and selling of human beings
was slavery, and that a human being cannot, in law, "become a slave,
even by his own consent." And moreover this official, with Governor
Hennessey's encouragement, prosecuted his cases without any tender
consideration as to the demands of European libertines, who would be
left with scant opportunities to be self-indulgent unless slaves were
placed at their disposal. The truth is, from the foreign standpoint,
the plea for brothel slavery was based upon the "necessity" of vice,
and from the Chinese standpoint the plea for slavery was based upon
so-called Chinese "custom." The Government was impressed that it must
have consideration for the demands of libertines, and consideration
for Chinese "custom." Neither of these arguments has any worth when
applied to the slave conditions of California, and therefore the most
serious, baffling obstacles to a removal of the evil are out of the
way. Both pretexts, we maintain, were false. There is no necessity for
furnishing vice to libertines; there was no lawful Chinese custom to
be opposed in opposing brothel slavery. But even if these were claimed
to be sufficient arguments across the water, they have no force in
California. There are women, alas! willing to make a trade of their
virtue for _their own gain_, without forcing Chinese women to make a
trade of their virtue for _the gain of masters_. As to Chinese custom:
America is not setting forth inducements for the Chinese to come and
live in our midst, as did Sir Charles Elliott when he promised the
Chinese the privilege of practicing their own social and religious
rites and customs, "pending Her Majesty's pleasure." If Chinese or any
other class of foreigners come to reside in the United States, it
is with the understanding that they must conform to the laws of the
country, whatever modification or radical alteration it obliges them
to make in their native customs, and if they will not do this they
must take the consequences.

No class of people, taken as a whole, are possessed of a greater
moral sense or can be reached more readily by moral suasion, than
the Chinese. We believe that if a proper condition of public moral
sentiment were maintained, by the enforcement of the laws of the
United States in Chinese communities, no class of people would be more
delighted than the respectable Chinese themselves, who are now left in
a state of terror for their own lives from the highbinders, and who
often dare not bring over their lawful wives from China, to live in
the midst of this reign of terror, at the mercy of slave-traders
and women-stealers. Then Chinese criminals would seek safer shelter
elsewhere, and respectable Chinese family life would take the place,
in our Chinatowns, of a combination of criminal men and slave women.
And Chinese men of weak character, separated far from home influences,
would not be met on every hand by temptations of the most potent sort.
Such is the real worth of the sort of Chinese character that one meets
in other parts of that country from those vitiated by familiar contact
with foreign profligates, that the presence of such could not but be
a benefit to us, and would afford peaceable, thrifty, useful Chinese
settlements in our midst, of which we would feel justly proud.

In order to see that the entrance of Chinese to our country from China
is not made a cover for this dreadful slave trade, there is an urgent
need of coöperation between rescue workers of the California coast
and rescue workers in all the open ports of China. Chinese men are
constantly returning to China to "marry," in duly prescribed form, and
then return with their wives and reënter the United States, merely to
put the women into the brothels. Any man who is willing to run the
risk of detection can thus get a trip home to China to see his lawful
wife and family, and make it a profitable business trip besides,--with
all expenses more than paid by the importation, and sale of a slave.
Chinese women are constantly returning to China to bring "daughters"
to put in the slave pens. No woman (even lawfully married to a
Chinaman), should be allowed to take a ticket at Hong Kong or any of
the open ports of China for the United States, whose case has not been
thoroughly investigated by days of acquaintance with a woman inspector
in a house of detention, if necessary, on the other side. And no
Chinese woman should be allowed to enter on this side of the water,
until she has passed the second time under such surveillance in a
house of detention. And such rescue workers should have the Government
authority signified by a policeman's star.

The evil to be combated should be met with the right remedy. "Fitches
are not threshed with a thresher, neither is a cart wheel turned about
upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the
cummin with a rod." Much of the failure to control brothel slavery
has grown out of the application of the wrong remedy, not out of a
difficulty in controlling the Chinese. These cases of trading in human
flesh have generally been treated in the courts as though coming under
the laws against ordinary prostitution. To illustrate:

Within the past month, three Chinese girls were captured by a rescue
worker. They were cooped up, with a man who had charge of them, in
a tiny closet scarcely sufficient to hold the four, which had been
entered by a panel door which was securely nailed up and bags of rice
piled against it. The rescuer pulled away the bags, pried open the
door of the secret receptacle with her hatchet, and drew out the
girls, dripping with perspiration and panting for breath, in
consequence of the two hours' confinement, while the brothel was being
searched for them. They were conveyed to the mission home, and were
very happy, and expressed their eager wish to remain. A Chinese
woman came to call at the mission home, in the absence of the
superintendent, and, unfortunately, was allowed to get access to an
acquaintance of these girls, and she conveyed to them a promise that
if they would come back, in a very little while they would all be
given their liberty. After that the girls said they wished to go, and
for the following reasons: They could not dwell in safety among their
Chinese people, if in debt to a brothel-keeper, for he would be always
on their track, and if he could not capture them and they would
not return, he would certainly secure their death at the hands of
high-binders. The case came up in court. The girls told there all the
details of their being recently smuggled into this country; that they
were bought by their present owner for $3,030 each; that they were
flogged when their earnings for their owner fell below $300 a month,
and other similar details,--_but_ they also declared their wish to go
back to the brothel and to their owner. To be sure, they had expressed
elsewhere a contrary wish, and the wish to return had been begotten in
their hearts by the threats and inducements conveyed to them by the
woman who came to the home. The judge was one who could not be bought
nor bribed, and who sincerely wished the good of the girls, but they
said they chose a life of prostitution, and to that life they were

We do not pretend to understand as well as that judge the laws that
were available, on which he rendered his decision, but this we do say:
If California has not a law that will not permit the introduction
of slavery into the state, even though Chinese women _consent_ to
slavery, then it needs such a law at once. _Slavery is too formidable
an evil for free Americans to allow its existence on the consent of
enslaved Chinese women._ Age of consent legislation, as applied to the
question of social vice, is one thing, and consent as applied to the
question of slavery, quite another thing. Sir John Smale, in the
Supreme Court of Hong Kong, quoting from Sir R. Phillimore on
International law (vol. I, p. 316), declared that it was not possible
for a human being legally to "become a slave _even by his own
consent_." Had the matter of consent or non-consent of slaves been
consulted as to negro slavery, we have no reason for believing that
the negro would ever have had his freedom. Though prostitution is
entangled with the conditions of servitude, under which Chinese women
and girls groan in California, yet only about half the slaves are as
yet prostitutes, and slavery looms up so large against the western
sky, as compared with the mere consent or wish of a creature brought
up from babyhood in familiarity with vice, that to consult the option
of such an one in determining the existence or non-existence of
_slavery_ in America, is a thing that ought not to be tolerated for a

We have shown how every Chinese girl who has escaped from her
servitude to the city of refuge,--the mission home,--is received and
welcomed. How the rescued and rescuer run the race for dear life, and
the pursuers are obliged to turn back at the door. But what a state
of things in this country which we call free! Should not the entire
country be one great city of refuge? Do we not pretend that it is such
to all who are oppressed? Why should not the pursuer be turned back at
the Golden Gate, rather than at the door of an exceptional home in
San Francisco? We are fond of saying that under the stars and stripes
slavery cannot exist. We must make it good, or acknowledge, in dust
and ashes of repentance, that we are hypocrites. Idle words will not
do in place of deeds; we must make good our profession at any cost.
Everyone of these Chinese women should be removed from the brothels,
wherever these exist, consent or no consent, placed in houses of
detention, instructed as to the condition of liberty of the person in
which she _must_ live, and then, if she _prefers_ a slave's life,
he deported to China,--a land in which slavery is permitted. Every
Chinese man who attempts to interfere with this radical treatment of
the situation, should be imprisoned or driven from the country. These
"Watch-dogs," who are perfectly known to the police, both by name and
by face, should be put behind bars and in stripes, for a long time to
come. This is not prostitution, _merely_,--Oh, how tenderly men are
inclined to deal with the male harlot! but for once the libertine
has not a shadow of a shade of defense,--the patrons of _slaves_ are
something worse than fornicators; they are guilty of as many offenses
of criminal outrage as they are guilty of visits to the slave-pens
stocked with Chinese girls, and they deserve a prison sentence for
every such visit.

Girls are afraid to come out of Chinese brothels until they have
earned their freedom. This is because powerful Chinese societies have
been formed that will either kidnap such a girl or kill her. So she
declares in court that she consents freely to be returned to the
brothel, and an extraordinary misconstruction of the doctrine of the
"liberty of the person," leaves the judge with nothing to do but to
deliver the girl over to compulsory voluntariness. Again, Chinese
young men do not wish to marry liberated Chinese girls, but they go,
rather, to the brothel and buy a wife; and for much the same reason.
If a man marries the liberated slave of a brothel keeper, the
high-binders will teach the lesson that he has stolen another man's
property, by watching their chance and assassinating him. Why are not
these societies broken up, root and branch? Cannot? Nonsense; the
officers of the law have not made the attempt with any degree of
earnestness as yet.

For years, the "Protectors" at Singapore and at Hong Kong have
summoned the slaves into their offices and informed them that they
were free, and asked them if they freely consented to going into a
life of shame, before putting them there? But to what purpose? Let the
Police Magistrate, H.E. Wodehouse, reply, as he did concerning a
case of suicide: "When registering her name she said she had no
pocket-mother, that her parents were both dead, and that she became a
prostitute of her own free will. The inspector said that that was the
description of themselves that nearly all prostitutes gave, and that
it was very rarely that it was true." Remember that, reader, when
the columns of your morning paper inform you that all the girls of
Chinatown have been interrogated, and that they all said they were
there of their own free will? It is "very rarely that it is true."
Referring to this case, which we describe on page 118, the Marquess
of Ripon wrote to Hong Kong that the brothel-keeper who attempted to
extort money from the young man before delivering up his captive to
him for marriage, should have been prosecuted, and adds: "A single
successful prosecution in a case of this kind would, in all
probability, do more to show that the inmates of brothels are free to
leave such places when they wish, than could ever be effected by the
present system, under which efforts are indeed made to explain their
positions to the inmates of brothels." This is a very clear statement
of exactly what is needed in California. The public should refuse to
be satisfied with visits of the police officials to the girls, to
ascertain the girls' state of mind as to a sense of liberty, and
demand to know the official's state of mind,--whether he is ready to
_prove_ the freedom of the slave by hounding the slave dealers out of
the community.

There was recently a war of secret societies in Oakland's Chinatown.
One of the "tongs" quarreled with another, and three or four Chinese
men were shot on the streets of Oakland,--one fatally, named Lee Bock
Dong, in his own house. Lee Bock Dong had a slave girl who saw the
shooting, so she was taken into custody by police officers. But the
Chinese got her out of jail by means of the usual writ of habeas
corpus, and she was sent to Sacramento to another person, who had
disputed her ownership with Lee Bock Dong. It seems, Lee Bock Dong had
been holding the slave girl for a debt owed to him by her real owner
in Sacramento, of $2,000. The Oakland _Enquirer, of_ Feb. 20th, 1907,
informed its readers a few days after the affray as follows: "This
girl's possession was one of the points in dispute between the two
tongs, and it was this that was settled at yesterday's conference." It
is interesting to note that other newspapers gave the information
that police officials attended the conference of these tongs, to help
settle the dispute. The report continues: "Lee Bock Dong's widow
demands the return of the girl as security for the money, or the
payment of the $2,000. This the Bing Gongs (one of the tongs) finally
agreed to, and it was for them to determine the course they would
pursue. The police say that this step is only preliminary to a
settlement of the whole affair ... that peace will be declared, the
complaint against the alleged murderers withdrawn, and the case
dismissed ... it is now expected that within a few days the extra
police force, which has been maintained in Chinatown ever since the
night of the shooting affray, will be withdrawn and peace reign once
more." This article is headed: "Warring Tongs Hold a Conference, and
it is Agreed Chinese Maiden is to be Returned, or Equivalent in Cash."
The _Enquirer_ of March 9th reported that the "Chinese tong men have
been dismissed."

"Equivalent in cash" for a Chinese maiden! Can it be possible that
this is the United States of America, and the twentieth century! One
actual murder, and two murderous assaults on the public streets, all
dismissed by an understanding entered into with the police that they
could now withdraw their extra force, since the Chinese girl had been
passed over as security for a debt, until the "equivalent in cash"
is paid! Have we spent hundreds of millions of dollars, and shed the
blood of thousands of young men, and widowed and orphaned tens of
of thousands besides, in a civil war to put down African slavery,
introduced from the Atlantic Coast, merely to turn about and welcome
Chinese slavery from the Pacific Coast?

"Behold this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them
snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a
prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore.

"Who among you will give ear to this? Who will hearken and hear for
the time to come?"

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