Seattle: 1911. Original cloth boards, gilt lettered. Light dampstaining to front board; light wear at corners and spine extremities. Contemporary and slightly later presentation inscriptions on title page verso. Light tanning, heavier to title page. About very good. Item #301
A scarce account of anti-Chinese riots that occurred in Seattle in February 1886, published on the occasion of their twenty-fifth anniversary. The author, George Kinnear, at the time of events was the Captain of the Home Guard, which played a role in preventing white rioters from forcibly evicting Chinese residents from the city. The violence arose from tension and resentment over the employment of Chinese labor and was fed by the promulgation of anti-Chinese statutes by state and federal governments throughout the 1880s. On February 7, 1886, members of the Knights of Labor group attempted to clear the Seattle Chinatown by forcing the Chinese from their homes and onto a waiting ship. The protection offered to them by the Seattle sheriff and the local court led to violent confrontations between the mob and the militias that had been called out. Despite the orders of the court, many Chinese decided to leave Seattle at any rate in order to avoid more violence.
Kinnear begins by stating that he wrote this account in order "to correct some erroneous statements which have been made by different persons, several having found their way into books considered reliable authority." He goes on to briefly discuss the underlying causes of the violence as he understood them. The majority of the text provides a report on the actions of his "Home Guard" unit, which along with two other volunteer guard units, the Seattle Rifles and the University Cadets, sought to keep the mob at bay. He is particularly concerned with defending the reputation of those who were forced to fire into the mob, wounding several, after the local courts ruled against their extralegal efforts. The final two pages provide a list of members of the Home Guard that were on duty during the riot.
Published privately in a small number of copies, this account by a key participant in the 1886 Seattle riot rarely appears on the market. This copy bears a presentation inscription from Kinnear on the verso of the title page. OCLC locates a handful of institutional copies; none appear in auction records.