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able number of Chinese formerly living on the Pacific Coast have migrated to the East, so that in districts under consideration the decrease has been material.
OCCUPATIONS IN EARLY YEARS
The first great migration of Chinese laborers to this country dated from the time of the great rush to California in search of gold in the early fifties. Before the end of the sixties, on account of the absence of cheap labor, they had gone into a variety of occupations. They were industrious, thrifty, and the form of organization of the Chinese laborers, by which it was possible for employers to secure the services of almost any number desired through some one contractor, placed a premium upon their employment. Probably the larger number of them were engaged in gold mining, some 20,000 in 1861. Somewhat later many thousands were employed in the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad; others engaged in gardening, laundrying, domestic service, and other occupations. In 1870, in San Francisco alone, domestic servants of the Chinese race numbered 1,256 out of a total of 6,800. A decided majority of the somewhat more than 2,000 laundrymen in San Francisco were Chinese; as laborers in domestic and personal service, they numbered considerably more than 2,000, about 25 per cent. of all. There were a considerable number of them among the skilled laborers; in the manufacture of boots and shoes, in cigar-making (in the latter industry 1,657 out of the entire 1,811 employed being Chinese), and a few were employed in the manufacture of woolen clothing. Later, when the salmon-canning industry developed in Oregon and Washington and later still
in Alaska, they were employed almost exclusively in canning the fish caught by white fishermen. Even now they constitute a large percentage of those engaged in that industry and of the general laborers employed in powder factories.
Perhaps of greatest importance, in the earlier days, was the employment of Chinese as hand laborers in the orchards, fields, hop-yards and vineyards of California, and in the fruit-canning industry. In the latter part of the eighties they did most of the hand work on the farms, hoeing, weeding, pruning, harvesting, in all localities in the central and northern part of the States, where intensive farming was carried on. At that time it was extremely difficult to obtain cheap and reliable white laborers, and the presence of the Chinese made possible the high degree of specialized farming which came to prevail. They had much less to do in general farming. They were not good teamsters, and their work was limited almost entirely to hand work.
The reason why the Chinese easily secured positions in those days was, first, because they were the cheapest laborers available for unskilled work; second, next to the native-born they outnumbered any other race, something like 14 per cent. of the total persons engaged in gainful operations being Chinese, while the Irish, the next most numerous, numbered only 13 per cent.
Inasmuch as the Chinese worked for lower wages, it was natural that a division of labor should grow up, the Chinese being generally employed in certain occupations, while white persons were employed in
other occupations which required skill, knowledge of English, and other qualities which the Chinese did. not possess. Moreover, the most disagreeable work was ordinarily performed by the Chinese.
In some lines of industry they were not considered very efficient, for example, in the manufacture of cigars, or in that of boots and shoes; but in fruit, fish and vegetable canning, and in hand work in orchards and gardens, they, through long hours and faithfulness and care, became very skilful workers and were highly prized.
STANDARD OF LIVING
Moreover, in the case of other employees, it was necessary to furnish board and lodging. The Chinese, however, provided their own subsistence. Furthermore, lodging was far more easily provided for them than for white men, as they were less dissatisfied than were the whites when put into small bunkhouses and closely crowded together.
Shortly after their coming into California in large numbers, agitation against them began, even in the early days of the mining camps in California, as early as 1852. Soon, in order to check their coming, a miner's license was required of them tho not exacted of other people. Somewhat later a similar license was exacted from them in the cigar trade and in other industries. The most important objection to them was race antipathy, this being based upon color, language, habits; but, doubtless, in many cases their apparent readiness to underbid in wages had much to do with the feeling.
Not only in San Francisco, but in other towns in California, in Washington, in Wyoming and elsewhere, there has been much opposition to the Chinese, and in a number of cases there have been race riots. This opposition, as was intimated in the beginning of this chapter, was not by any means, however, limited to the laboring men, but in many cases even the employers themselves joined in wishing to restrict Chinese immigration. Doubtless, the reasons affecting the well-to-do and employing classes were those already assigned, or the tendency toward the organization of a caste system where a race of so different habits of living and of so different ideas of life, and with so marked a difference of social customs, were employed. It was thought not desirable to have a separate class and especially a servile class, in the State.
Present Occupations of Chinese
At the time the Chinese Exclusion Act went into effect, in 1882, it had been estimated that the number of Chinese in the United States was 132,300. This number did not lessen materially for a number of years, but recently, as has been said before, the number has materially decreased.
During the year 1909 some 3,000 of the Chinese were employed in the salmon canneries in Oregon, Washington and Alaska, they having come largely from San Francisco and Portland. The number of Japanese was about the same. In most cases in this industry a Chinese holds the contract for the work
done, employing his countrymen mainly for the more skilled work, while the Japanese, under a Japanese boss, are given the work demanding less skill. In this industry the Chinese secure considerably higher wages than the Japanese; but in some cases, on account of the race feeling against Orientals, the companies refuse to employ any of them and now are using the European immigrants of the later immigration-Italians, Greeks and Portuguese.
In railway work only a few Chinese are still employed. Altho earlier many were in that industry as section hands, and in other occupations, they have now been largely replaced by Japanese, Mexicans and
The Chinese formerly took a very active part in the growing of sugar beets. Of late they have been underbid and displaced by the Japanese, who are apparently more progressive and quicker. In the hop industry, in the same way, they have been underbid by the Japanese, who, in many cases, are fully as careful, possibly more rapid workers, and who also have a similar organization by which they can be engaged through one boss, a method which makes it very easy to deal with them. On the other hand, generally speaking, they are not so trustworthy as are the Chinese, so that where the option is given, the employer prefers a Chinese, even tho at somewhat higher wages.
In a good many localities the Chinese are still able to lease orchards, and where they can do so, or even