W3847 TO REV. THOMAS BAKER from his son John Orange Baker
Feb 10 1885
To: Rev. Thomas Baker, 3 Bold Street, Hamilton, Ontario.
From: Seattle, Washington.
My dear Father,
Yours of Jan 20th was received some time ago. I was pleased to hear of your continued good health, and that Isaac's health was improved. Give my love to Mary, and congratulate her for me-- but is not Isaac about tired of this thing. We are all well here, but you can imagine business is flat. When I tell you we are in the midst of an Anti Chinese riot, some months ago we had a little fuss, but the arrival of 6 companies of US troops, and their detention here for a week quieted every thing.
Last Sunday early in the morning, without the knowledge of any one in the City, several hundred rioters from outside, having arrived the mob commenced to move the Chinese from their Quarters to the steamboat which was to leave at 1 o'clock for San Francisco, soon the bells rang. The military companies were called out, the court detained the steamer till Monday. When those Celestials who were willing were allowed to leave, those unwilling, now, on the departure of the Steamer, being escorted back to their Quarters, by a detachment of home guards in front, and rear, upon arriving at Commercial Street the Riot which had planted itself and the street in a dense mass, endeavoured to wrest the muskets from the troops, certain that the guns were at the most only loaded with blank cartridges, and that that troops, being citizens sympathized with them and would not fire on them. After a momentary tussle for the muskets, three shots were fired by the troops and four rioters fetched, the men then clutched their muskets and a few broken heads was the result, when the mob gave way, the brutes completely carved by a small number of resolute men and boys, for many of the troops are University Scholars, and while [doubt??] one of them not 18 is going as sentinel under my office window, feeling as big as if he last seen a hundred fights.
The governor who happened to be in town has claimed Martial Law: the City is being patroled day and night. Guards are mounted, and all hands forced to keep the house after 7 in the Evening. One of the wounded very properly died to day; and I suppose there will be a grand demonstration at his funeral and perhaps more bloodshed for truly the fighting end of a Springfield Rifle is not to be [played??] with. United States troops are expected to arrive some time to day when the people will feel secure for a time. I think the Chinese question is the least of the trouble.
There appears to be a Socialistic element all over this coast, together with a strong desire on the part of many to take from those who have, and give the proceeds to those who have not. The long continued hard times have discouraged many. Manufacturers and mining, coal and other Enterprises are not flourishing, many are out of employ, and think the only remedy lies in a new distribution of property, and foolish as the idea is they are inclined to attempt it if they can. I suppose this will be kept up till good times return.
In your last you did not mention Alfred's1 children, so I suppose they are about as usual. I never hear from any one but you, and if I don't learn the news from you I am left in the dark.
The winter so far has been stormy, with much rain and very little cold weather, in fact flowers are often in the garden. Julia tells me not to post this to day, and to morrow she will send some flowers to give you some idea of the Paradise we live in, once only the thermometer has reached 12 degrees below freezing thus far.
Feby [sic] 14th. Every thing is quite in town. Saloons all closed, and permits requested to hold services in the various churches. Yesterday a number of persons were arrested, and will be tried tomorrow by military commission, and will no doubt get their arrests. [Although??] outrages against the Chinese have gone impoverished, Several Chinese men met death during the [lesss picking??] season, the evidence against the murderers was overwhelmingly conclusive, yet in every case the jury perjured themselves and acquitted the murderers. I think after to morrow some will find themselves in the military prison at San Francisco, where there is no escape, but by order from the President.
I have sent you some papers to give some idea of the situation here, also some flowers from Julia's garden out of doors. With love to Mary Isaac and all the little ones in which Julia joins I remain my dear Father
1 John Orange Baker is referring to his late brother, James Alfred's children. For more information about the Baker family see also W2953, W4141, W2960, W5460, W3328, and W3328.