Lincoln's Sec. of War offers his opinion of San Francisco & Chinese immigration


Date Written

April 18, 1858

History Referenced

Edwin McMasters Stanton was 43 years old when this was written.
Edwin McMasters Stanton died 11 years, 8 months, 6 days after writing it.
It was written 165 years, 5 months, 15 days ago.
It was a Sunday.

San Francisco
April 18/58

Dear Sir,

The receipt of your letter by the last steamer gratified me very much. I have now been nearly a month in this city but have not been able on account of the purpose of my business, to get into any other part of the state. The climate of California is very delightful–its productions, vegetable or mill or mineral surpass all description. Their city is quiet and orderly beyond any other of the same population that I was ever acquainted with. The people or kind & hospitable, but everything has the appearance of over stimulated action followed by depression.

If the distance from the great centres of society were not so great, it seems to me no spot on earth would be pleasanter to live in. But to hear only twice a month from any where else, and the news then be thirty days old, is quite a draw back. The great distance and great expense is a great check on population and will tend very much to retard the growth of California. The mixture of Asiatics with our own race presents quite a marked feature of this place. But it is only seen in business hours on the streets. Each race occupy a distinct part of the town. And I confess that the Chinese population, although industrious and orderly, do not impress me favorably, and if I had anything to do with the matter, I should try to repress the immigration of that people.

I have been very busily engaged ever since my arrival, and shall be so for some time to come. My health is improved but not entirely restored. One thing great about this climate is the amount of labor a person can endure. How long I shall remain is uncertain, but I shall have time to hear from you again as I desire to do with great regard.

Yours truly,
Edwin M. Stanton

Dr. J. P. Gazzami

Scans of Letter