Frederick Bee History Project

I have determined three reasons to explain Frederick Bee's relationship with citizens of Chinese descent.
1. He was a capitalist who employed Chinese workers in 1855, and as an employee of the Chinese community in 1876 after he failed as a capitalist.
2.The Chinese and Mr. Bee shared a common enemy: immigrants who were not of English descent.
3. Equality would allow Chinese residents to accept America's Christian values.

1. Capitalism

Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 10, Number 1406, 27 September 1855

F A Bee had successful mining operation while employing 20 Chinese workers on Ledge Bar.
NOTE: This article is the most important article about the early F A Bee because it shows that Mr. Bee considered himself to be a capitalist who would employ Chinese miners. When Frederick Bee and Frank Bee died, the coroner described their occupation as Capitalist. The term, capitalist, is described, not defined, in the conclusion of the Report of the Majority Select Committee signed by J.E. Clayton as part of the March, 1855 investigation of Chinese miners.
"The direct question at issue, is between the American laborer on one side, and the Chinese laborer and capitalist on the other. The American laborer claims the exclusive privilege and right of occupying and working the immense placers of our State. They look upon the mines as being the just inheritance of the laboring poor of America, and the only class of laborers that they are willing to admit any participation of this rich inheritance with them, are those of kindred lands, whom they can receive as brothers. They ask us to protect them from the immense hordes of Asia, who like the locust of Egypt, leave nought but desolation in their path.If this class of foreigners are excluded from the mines, our own laboring classes will for a long series of years have the advantage of capitalists.Our laborers wish to keep the value of their toll to a fair standard of competition among themselves, but you allow capitalists to import Chinese labor upon them, and the equilibrium is destroyed, capital is triumphant, and the laboring poor of America must submit to the unholy sacrifice. The majority of your committee believing that the interests of our people, the good of society, and sound policy, all demand prompt and decisive action on the part of the Legislature, to arrest the further progress of the great social and political evils resulting from the admission of the Asiatic races into our mines.We therefore beg leave to present a substitute, embracing the main features of the three bills referred to us, and respectfully urge its passage. "

By 1876, Bee described himself as a capitalist because he was looking for a venture to replace the failures of the Olympia Railroad and Coal Mining Company and the The Samoan Commercial and Land Company. Fortunately, Senator Oliver Morton contacted Bee to represent the interests of Chinese residents in front of a committee to investigate Chinese immigration. Bee accepted the offer after other San Francisco lawyers declined.

Daily Alta California, Volume 83, Number 53, 22 August 1890
Consul Bee took his first vacation in 12 year to eastern USA for 6 weeks.

2. Common enemy

Daily Alta California, Volume 12, Number 3874, 21 September 1860
This story is the best example of Frederick Bee's mindset. In this story, Frederick Bee was stretching telegraph wire across a mountaintop. A stranger commented that the valley would be a good place to raise livestock. Bee was disgusted by the stranger's lack of appreciation of nature's beauty. Bee did not consider his telegraph wire to be a detriment to the landscape. The telegraph was an addition to, not an alteration of, the natural world. Livestock would change the valley's habitat. In the same way telegraph wire would become a part of the valley's environment, Chinese residents would not alter America's culture. Non-English immigrants, on the other hand, would alter America's religious and economic principles.

Chinese immigrants and Frederick Bee shared a common enemy - immigrants of non-English ancestry. I speculate that Frederick Bee' s pride in his genealogy became a selective prejudice.

From Consul Frederick A. Bee's Identification with the History of California (undated)
"Prompted by the peculiarity of his name, though a thorough American, Colonel Bee has traced his ancestry, which is of good English blood, back to the time of the Crusaders, and found on record in Kent, England, a document wherein Richard Couer de Lion, then King, granted to one of his most trusted followers a landed estate, on the proviso that whenever the King visited him, he was to set before His Majesty a barley cake and a quart of "metheglin", a liquor made from bees' honey; the family name was given from this incident. "

Transcript of October 25, 1878 Washington Post article

Daily Alta California, Volume 30, Number 10427, 29 October 1878
Colonel Bee modified his statements.

Daily Alta California, Volume 30, Number 10448, 19 November 1878
Colonel Bee asserted that statements in Washington Post were exaggerated.

Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 7, Number 224, 12 November 1878
Two meetings to denounce Colonel Bee

Daily Alta California, Volume 39, Number 12981, 28 September 1885
Wyoming Massacre
Excerpt from
THE WYOMING MASSACRE. Americans Had Nothing to Do With It.
"Colonel F. A. Bee, resident consul for China at San Francisco, has returned to that place from an investigation of the Chinese massacre at Rock Springs, Wyoming. In an interview with the Alta [a San Francisco newspaper] Colonel Bee relates what he found: 'Were any of the white men engaged in this butchery Americans?'asked the reporter. 'Americans!' exclaimed Colonel Bee, as if struck by a thunderbolt. 'Americans! Don't disgrace your country by asking such a question as that. Thank God, no! Most of them were laborers brought from Europe by the Union Pacific company to operate the mines. Cornwall and Wales furnished the major share. Brutes who have lived underground from boyhood were the assassins. Low-browed, square-jawed, ignorant and villainously visaged men, men whom you would fear to meet on a crowded street even if you were armed on both hips. Clubs and rocks aided the murderers, for when they found a wounded and helpless Chinaman, they dashed out his brains with the clubs or crushed in his skull with rocks. While the men were shooting the Chinese and firing cabins, the women were looting the vacated dwellings. There are, I should think about four hundred white men in the settlement. The women are bold and rude, and if a soldier strays away from camp the women stone him and howl at him until he is glad to beat a retreat.' "
Daily Alta California, Volume 39, Number 12981, 28 September 1885

October 8, 1890 Deseret Evening News
Chinese are better than Italians.

3. Civil Rights and Christianity

The reason the Chinese Government hired F.A. Bee from "Huang chao zhang gu hui bian / Zhang Shouyong deng bian]"
Original report
Find out more about the book.

A representative of the Chinese consulate revealed that Frederick Bee was hired in 1878 to repay him for his service to the Chinese community and that Mr. Bee would not be replaced with a Caucasian of equivalent prestige.
San Francisco Call, Volume 71, Number 178, 27 May 1892
Death of Consul Bee

October 8, 1890 Deseret Evening News
Frederick Bee admitted he owed his job to agitation created by Dennis Kearney.

Reverend Horace Stebbins officiated at Frederick Bee's funeral at Unitarian Church.

Reverend Stebbins' attitude toward Chinese immigrants
Stebbins' biographical information and sermon
Courtesy of Andover-Harvard Theological Library

Robert Park (or Parke) lived in Frederick Bee's house.

Most Californians held one of three opinions about the Chinese immigrants: exclusion, assimilation, or allow them enough freedom to save money and to move back to China. Jerome A. Hart was a newspaperman who worked in San Francisco and published sections of his notebooks in 1931. In Our Second Century indicates that assimilation occurred over an eighty year period. The text about Chinese assimilation begins on the bottom of page 69.

March, 1882 letter from F.A. Bee to United States Senate
"I believe that the immortal truths of the Declaration of Independence came from the same source with the Golden Rule and the Sermon on the Mount......"
"As surely as the path on which our fathers entered a hundred years ago led to safety, to strength, to glory, so surely will the path on which we now propose to enter bring us to shame, to weakness, and to peril."