keepers, draymen, carpenters and the like, they entered thus into competition with the American laborers, the most of whom in San Francisco were recent immigrants from Europe.
Their lower scale of living and their peculiarities in other ways soon brought them under the condemnation of the trade unions. Anti-Japanese societies were formed and much effort was spent to the end of the exclusion of Japanese and Korean laborers as the Chinese had already been excluded. The personal violence which accompanied the anti-Chinese campaign of twenty years before was practically absent from this. The Japanese were better able to take care of themselves and also, in spite of much reckless talk and exaggeration of language, there was very little real enmity toward the Japanese with any class of their opponents. Most of the unfriendly talk was for political purposes and the main cause of opposition was economic.
An exclusion act like that directed against the Chinese could not be considered by our government. It would be a needless affront to a friendly nation, and a nation willing to do anything we may desire, provided it could be done with dignity. The Chinese exclusion act finds its excuse perhaps in the fact that China is not yet a nation. No absolute monarchy can be a nation, in the modern sense. When China finds herself at last, this exclusion act must wholly change its form.
In this condition of affairs, a definite agreement was made with the Katsura Ministry of Japan, that no passports for America were to be issued to Japanese laborers, that the responsibility for discrimination should rest with Japan, and that all holders of Japanese passports should be admitted without question. This agreement has been loyally and rigidly kept by Japan. A bit too rigidly, perhaps, for it is growing increasingly difficult for Japanese students to come to America. The diffusion among our American universities of Japanese students, eager, devoted and persistent, has been one of the most important factors in maintaining the mutual good will and good understanding of the two nations. For everywhere these Japanese graduates of American universities give a good account of themselves, standing high in the estimation of their people at home, while retaining a keen interest and intelligent sympathy in all American affairs.
The present settlement of the immigration question is the very best possible, so long as restriction of any sort is regarded as necessary. It is in the interest of both nations and of all concerned, and the occasional efforts to supersede it by a general "oriental exclusion" bill are prompted by no consideration of the public welfare.
To be grouped with the inchoate nations of Asia as "orientals" is particularly offensive to the proud, self-governing Japanese. In their thoughts and ambitions, in their attitude towards peace and justice and