The Chinese laborers in America all come from the departments of Kwangchau and Shauking, in the province of Kwantung.
They describe themselves as Púntí or "natives," as distinguished from the tribes called Hákká or "strangers," and divide themselves into the people of the Sam Yup ("Three Towns") and those of the Sz' Yup ("Four Towns"), the former from the three districts of Nánhái (1), 1 Pw'anyú (2), and Shunteh (3), and the latter from the four districts of Sinhwui (4),  Sinning (5), Kaiping (6), and Ngánping (7). Others from the district of Hohshan (8) include themselves with those from the Sz' Yup, and there are a few from each of the districts of Tungkwán (9), Hiángshán (10), Sánshwui (11), and Sinngán (12).
The tract embraced in these districts is little more than 100 miles square, but it exhibits much diversity in its natural features, the northern and western parts being high and mountainous, while those approaching the coast are low and covered with small hills, and the entire region is well watered by numerous large rivers and tributary streams. Large towns and cities, many of them the seat of important manufactures, are found within its limits. The coast is studded with numerous small islands and furnished with safe and commodious harbors.
The people of the different districts show distinctive peculiarities, both in speech and customs. Those from Nánhái and Pw'anyú, the districts within which the city of Canton is situated, partake of the manners of its inhabitants, although few here are from the capital itself, and their language differs little from the dialect of Canton as transcribed by Dr. Williams. The Sz' Yup people, particularly those from the maritime district of Sinning, who comprise the greater part, are ruder and more adventurous than those from nearer the capital,  and their speech can only be understood with difficulty by the inhabitants of the Provincial City.
The immigrants are much influenced by local traditions and those from different sections keep much to themselves. They establish separate shops when their numbers warrant it, as well as assembly-rooms and guild-halls. The Six Companies in San Francisco, under which nearly all of the Chinese in the United States are enrolled, are the guilds formed in this manner by the emigrants from different parts of the province.
The ties of kindred, preserved with so much care in China, are recognized here, and many of the immigrants claim relationship. People of the same village naturally drift together, and as all the inhabitants of a Chinese village frequently belong to the same clan and bear the same name, it happens that many members of the same family are often found associated here, the numbers of any particular family varying much, however, in different localities. Some thirty or forty of these clans only are represented among the Chinese in our Eastern cities. A Chinese storekeeper in Philadelphia has furnished me with the following list of the names and numbers of each clan among some four hundred and fifty of his acquaintances in that city. It will be observed that the Lí clan outnumbers any other. In New York city,  the Chiús predominate, numbering some five hundred souls.
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