IT may be safely said that in California the Chinese outnumber any other one nationality, except the American. Their headquarters are in San Francisco, where, according to the received opinion, they number forty thousand. They come directly from the mother country to this city, in the vessels of the Pacific Mail Steamship Co., as many as nine or ten hundred coming on one steamer.

On their arrival they are conveyed to "China town," and taken in charge by agents of what are known as the Six   Companies, who provide them with food and lodgings. The laws of China require these companies to take care of "John," as the Chinaman is called, for one year after his arrival; so they put him to work at any price, while fee can be called by no other name than their slave.

The Chinese laborers are employed as laundry-men, cigar and shoe makers, cooks, makers of ladies' underwear, etc. They also peddle vegetables, their outfit for this purpose being a strong stick with a basket at each end. This they carry balanced on their shoulders. From three to five hundred pounds is their average load. They are quick to learn, and are hard workers in every sense of the word. When laboring for themselves, you will find them toiling away from early morning till late at night, every day of the week, observing no Sabbath.

The first thing a Chinaman does when he rises in the morning is to thoroughly wash his head and hands in very hot water. He then pays his devotions to his god, by burning lights in a little niche in the wall. His meals are simple, the principal dish being rice; the utensils are bowls and chopsticks. The latter are straight pieces of wood or gutta-percha one-fifth of an inch wide and about a foot long. For half their length these sticks are round; the other half is square. The favorite drink, of course, is tea, which is taken strong and unadulterated. Much talk and laughter are indulged in at meals, and altogether these are the times most highly enjoyed. Every one helps himself at table; for if he did not, nobody would help him. 

A Chinaman's bed is a shelf made of plain boards covered with matting, on which he lies, with a few coverings; his pillow is a hollow block of wood placed under the back of the neck, that he may not disarrange the long braid, or "cue," in which he takes so much pride. You might suppose he could not enjoy much rest on such a couch, but I assure you he sleeps as soundly as any one could desire.

In their dwellings, the Chinese are huddled together, literally in swarms. This practice was carried so far in San Francisco that the authorities were obliged to pass an ordinance requiring that every Mongolian should have fifteen cubit feet of air to breathe, where he slept. I remember a case in which about fifty Chinamen lived in a house containing six rooms; in another, eight hundred occupied three houses which were about 50x75 feet, and three stories high. The people do not pay the slightest attention to order, and their dwellings are filthy, inside and out. Much disease results from these habits; small-pox, cholera, leprosy, and similar diseases, are common among them.

As a class, they are very dishonest. Religion is embraced more for the benefit of their pockets than for the good of their souls. Revenge is sweet to them, and many murders are committed in San Francisco, which the sharpest detectives are not able to ferret out. If one of their number is arrested and they wish to clear him, they will do so by false testimony; but very few of them can be believed, even under oath.

When a Chinaman dies who has means or sympathizing friends, he is honored with a funeral. He is laid in a coffin, and conveyed to the grave in a hearse. On the way, one of his friends sits on the box, beside the driver, and continually throws gold-colored papers, one by one, into the street. They believe the devil to be following the corpse, and that he, mistaking these papers for gold, stops to examine them, thus enabling the body to arrive at the grave before him. The friends and relatives follow the hearse in hacks, which are always full. At the end of the procession comes an express wagon loaded with roast pig, boiled rice, lights, gold papers, etc. All the eatables are buried with the person, and the lights are left burning on the grave. Once a year the Chinese go to their grave-yards, disinter the bodies, clean the bones, pack them in boxes, and ship them to China, where they are reburied. Two years ago this practice became such a nuisance to those living within a mile of the San Francisco burying ground, that a law was passed requiring a new place to be selected, nearer the ocean.



THE Peking Gazette is one thousand 

years old. The editor has never had a visit 

from the man who has "taken your paper 

ever since it started."


ONE of the greatest vices to which the Chinese are addicted is the use of opium. In San Francisco, places are set apart for the sale and use of this drug. These are generally above the first floor, and are called "opium dens." On the sides of these dens are arranged bunks upon which the customers recline. Any one wishing to use the drug, goes to the person in attendance, buys a pipe which has a long bamboo stem, selects his bunk, lights his opium at a small dingy lamp, and, before many whiffs are taken, finds himself in the land of dreams. Those who have tried it, say that the most beautiful thoughts pass through the mind, when it is benumbed by this narcotic.

Many Americans are also becoming addicted to this habit. Especially is this true of the youth of San Francisco. At certain times during the day the dens are reserved chiefly for their use. It is stated upon good authority that smoking opium is worse than drinking liquor, for in the latter case there are hopes of reform, but in the former, reform is almost impossible. Sometimes the authorities take advantage of this weakness when they wish "John" to divulge some secret. Deprive him of his food, and the secret is still safe in his keeping; but take his opium away, and their object is gained.

Gambling is also one of their chief pastimes, and rooms are likewise set apart for this purpose. To reach these rooms, one is obliged to pass through heavy doors that can be bolted and barred in an instant. 

As the laws of San Francisco forbid gambling, when a game is in progress, a Chinaman sits by the street door to watch the police. When danger is near, this person gives a secret signal; in a moment the doors are securely fastened on the inside, and by the time the officers batter them down the birds have flown.  Chinamen seldom bring their wives to California. They leave their families at home expecting to return in a few years, after having acquired some property. Most of those that are brought, are bought and sold very much the same as Negroes were in slavery days.

"John" usually converses in a very loud voice. To illustrate: Sometimes a number of them may be seen walking along the street in a single file, the last one carrying on a conversation with the leader. When talking with Americans they use the most simple language. They easily acquire a sufficient understanding of the English to make their thoughts known. If they wish to say that anything is like the American, it is expressed by "Alle same Melican man." If they do not understand, they say, "Me no sabbee," etc.

The "Celestials," as the Chinese are sometimes called, observe no Sabbath at all; and they have but few holidays. Their chief holiday is their new year, which varies with the year, coming some time about the month of February. In their native country, a month is spent in celebrating it; but, as time is money in this country, only about one week is spent. 

The gambling houses, theaters, opium dens, and all such places, are in full operation during this time. As far as possible, all bills are paid, and little work is done. In short, it is a time of great rejoicing and merry-making among them. Firecrackers and large explosives are used to make a loud noise, in order to frighten the devil away; and were such a thing possible, they would succeed.

The religion of the Chinese consists merely in ceremonies. In San Francisco they have several temples, or "Joss Houses," containing the most hideous looking images, which they worship as gods.  Much more might be said in regard to this people, but space will not allow. Suffice it to say that there is a much stronger feeling existing against them than many suppose. Last May the State adopted a new constitution which disfranchises them, that is, deprives them of the rights of citizens. It was hoped by this act to persuade "John" to seek a more genial clime.