Document 28: Letter from John Arthur to Watson Squire, Washington Territorial Governor, November 4, 1885

Report of the Governor of Washington Territory to the Secretary of the Interior 1886 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1886), 875. Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries.

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TACOMA, November 4, 1885

DEAR GOVERNOR: Fuit Ilium. The Chinese are no more in Tacoma, and the trouble over them is virtually at an end. Yesterday they were peaceably escorted out of town and put upon the freight and passenger trains this morning. Do you recall what I told you as to the method which I understood would be adopted on the last days? It was strictly followed, with the exception that the train was no special, the reason for this departure from the programme being that the price asked for a special train was too exorbitant.

The twenty-five or thirty Chinamen who were permitted to remain a day for purposes of packing and shipping store-goods will leave to-morrow morning; then Tacoma will be sans Chinese, sans pigtails, sans moon-eye, sans wash-house, sans joss-house, sans everything Mongolian, if the shades of Shakespeare will pardon me. It affords me genuine delight to recall my assurances to you at Olympic and here that the Chinese would be got out of Tacoma without any trouble, and point to the denouement in confirmation. Those who predicted differently were partly swayed by their wishes, and greatly underrated the intelligence, character, and resolution of the men who worked up the movement, and who were flippantly called a "rabble" by their moral and intellectual inferiors.

The "rabble" element in the movement was small and without power; hence the peaceful victory. After a canvass of the situation yesterday, I thought there would be some risk in presenting the preamble and resolution I had prepared; the chamber last night represented exultant triumph and sullen, resentful acquiescence, which a little spark might kindle into a blaze of antagonism; and the sentiment was that nothing should be done until you had approved or disapproved the petition to President Cleveland concerning the non-enforcement of the Chinese restriction act.

Very truly yours,


Olympia, Wash.

Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest