Criminal annals, Part 131: Chinese immigration issues

The Oct. 1, 1852, edition of the Sacramento “Daily Union” has, on page two, a short discussion on the Chinese in Sacramento, followed by an interesting comment on the E Clampus Vitus group.

“THE CHINESE IN K STREET. –  We have before noticed the fact that the Chinese had congregated to such an extent on K street, between Fifth and Sixth, as to occupy nearly every house between those two streets, on both sides of K. The houses are occupied mostly for trading purposes, and almost any article sold in this market of China manufacture or production may be found in these Chinese stores, to which their queer looking Chinese signs are sure to attract attention. But in addition to stores, one may find eating, drinking and gambling houses. –  To the surprise of the ‘natives’ they manifest an inveterate disposition to gamble when they have money, and they pursue the calling with as much ardor, intent and apparently delightful excitement as a Mexican can do. Their gambling houses, as we are informed, ‘run all night,’ and they are extensively visited by the staid and demure looking ‘Celestials’ in the city. Their contests over the games they play are particularly interesting to lookers on, who understand about as well what they say as they would the gabbling of so many geese. It is easy, however, to perceive they are in dead earnest in their betting.

“The Chinese are a peculiar race to us; we do not know them, never shall know them, as they are in character and disposition, so long as they remain in a dependent position. They visit our shores to make money enough to enable them to return and live at home in comparative ease the remainder of their days. One left K street a few days since, with $4,000 to buy China goods and return with them. He is a merchant and on the road to fortune.

“The influence upon labor to be yet effected by this Chinese immigration, is a subject which commends itself to the attention of every laboring man, and is fruitful of suggestions which we may hereafter present to our readers.”

“THE FOLLOWING card appears in the advertising columns of the San Francisco Herald [under several names 1850-18?]:

“E CLAMPUS VITUS. In the Sacramento Union of this date an article is published, which reflects improperly upon the aim and objects of the above mentioned Order. The presumption of the author is not worthy of being noticed in any other way than by saying, that frequently “Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.’

“By order of E. C. V. San Francisco, Sept. 28, 1852.

“The ‘presumption of the author’ we are more than ever convinced, however, was perfectly correct, and the card of the worthy members of the nominal ‘E Clampus Vitus’ Club does not undertake to deny it. Our second ‘presumption’ is, that a sufficient number of ‘fools’ have already ‘rushed in’ where sensible men have no occasion to tread.”

Note: This is probably not the last we will hear on this subject.

Next is the information from the previous session of the Recorder’s Court in Sacramento. Then as now, the same names seem to be reappearing.

“Recorder’s Court.- Before Judge McGrew. Thursday, Sept. 29, 1852.

“A full court this morning set off the total absence of cases yesterday. Among the ‘features,’ we observed a venerable colored lady with an umbrella, in allusion doubtless to the hazy weather which has for some time prevailed, and a nervous individual, who emptied his stomach at the back door, by vomiting. Too much of the ‘ardent’ had made him very sick.

Edward Crickard, for drunkenness and disorderly conduct, was found guilty on his own confession, and fined $5 and costs.

William O’Rourke and Matthew Rice, for disturbing the peace and fighting. On a hearing, Matthew was discharged, with many thanks to the Court for its leniency for letting him out of the hands of the law ‘for once.’ Before reaching the street door, however, the aforesaid Matthew in the exuberance of his happiness, performed several very ungentlemanly actions, which caused his re-arrest. A salutary admonition from the Court humbled him considerably, when he was a second time discharged.

William O’Rourke was found guilty. His presence before the Recorder has become a matter of almost daily occurrence; and each time that he comes he bears with him additional scratches and wounds on the face, till his physiognomy is covered with blotches. Mr. O’Rourke would doubtless reform if he could, but the boxing and drinking propensity was so strongly developed in his illustrious progenitors, that he imbibed it as a family legacy, and yields to the seductive influences which it inspires. Judgment suspended till to-morrow.

“John Carroll, Chas. McGinley, and, Henry Davidson, for an assault and robbery. Case continued.”

In the same edition we find a note from the Union regarding the printing in another newspaper of a story very similar to one they had printed two years before.

“PLAGIARISM. – The Times and Transcript [actually Placer Times and Transcript. San Francisco, but previously in Sacramento. 1852-1855] of Tuesday morning, contains the following:

“Good. – ‘Waiter,’ said an ambitious youth, in the excellent coffee establishment on Washington street just above the Bella Union. ‘What makes these hot rolls so cold always!’ ‘I don’t know,’ was the prompt reply, ‘unless it’s because they are made of Chili flour.’”

“Nearly two years ago, the Daily Union published the subjoined anecdote, which occurred in Sacramento:

“‘Waiter!’ cried a man at one of our restaurants the other day, ‘your hot rolls are all cold. What’s the reason?’ The waiter, who by-the-way, was a native of the sod, after scratching his head a moment, replied: ‘I don’t know, sir, unless the blundering cook has made them of Chilly flour.’”

“A marvellous [sic] coincidence of ideas, truly!

“He who steals my purse steals trash.”

 (To be continued.)

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