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the Yamên (1) the unjustifiable proceedings of the officials in retaining possession of the deeds; (2) the recent arbitrary ejectment of the mission from its property; (3) compliance with the missionaries' reason. able request for a proclamation.
I have complied with this request and have this date forwarded to the Yamên a dispatch, of which I inclose a copy.
It remains to be said that the missionaries in Hainan do not seem to have considered the action of the consul in their behalf as sufficient. They cabled to their board in New York to notify the U. S. Government of the seizure of their property. Mr. Jeremiassen also availed of his Danish citizenship to wire the Russian minister, who represents Deumark here, that his life was in danger. The minister sent his interpreter to the Yamên to demand Mr. Jeremiassen's protection, and the Yamên telegraphed the viceroy at Canton giving orders to that effect. In a note of the 1st instant, communicated to me by the Russian minister, the Yamên reported that they had received telegraphic assurances from the Hainan officials that there was absolutely no danger; that the populace was favorably disposed to the missionaries, and that the sole dispute was an unsettled lawsuit with reference to a piece of land. They accused Mr. Jeremiassen of willfully stirring up trouble, and requested that he be ordered to peacefully pursue his missionary calling.
The difficulties of acquiring land in Hainan have not been experienced by Americans alone. The British Government has for many years been trying to secure a suitable site for a consulate, and the foreign customs were long unable to buy property at Kiungchow. The viceroy at Canton and the Government at Peking do not always exercise supreme control in the island. I hope, however, that patience and reasonable conduct may ultimately obtain for our missionaries another suitable site in lieu of the one of which they have been deprived. I have, etc..
CHARLES DENBY, JR.
(Inclosure in No. 1861.]
Mr. Denby, jr., to the Tsung-li Yamên.
JUNE 8, 1894. YOUR HIGHNESS AND YOUR EXCELLENCIES: I have the honor to bring to your notice the unlawful conduct of certain officials in the island of Hainan with reference to a piece of land belonging to the American Presbyterian Mission. The circumstances of this case are as follows:
In the year 1886, Mr. Jeremiassen, a Danish subject, bought a piece of land in the city of Kiungchow, in Hainan, and then sold it to the American Presbyterian Mission. This sale was recorded in the U. S. consulate at Canton. The deeds making this transfer and six antecedent deeds were sent in September, 1886, to the taotai at Kiungchow for examination and authentication. These deeds have remained in the hands of the Chinese authorities, who have persistently refused all demands for their delivery. In the meantime the American missionaries have remained in possession of the property and have used a small house situated thereon as a dispensary. Objections existed on the part of the officials to the possession by the missionaries of this particular piece of land, and the missionaries, on their part, were willing to receive
another in place of it if some suitable site were offered them. Though often appealed to by the consul, the viceroy at Canton and the Hainan officials took no steps for making such an exchange.
Some weeks ago the missionaries, wearied by this delay, resolved to build upon the land in their possession and prepared materials for the purpose. To this proceeding strenuous opposition was manifested by the authorities.
On the 13th of last month some officers of the district magistrate's Yamên, accompanied by three literati and some employés, proceeded in the evening to the disputed land. The house situated thereon was guarded by a watchman. This man they drove away, and, removing the contents of the house, they placed another lock upon it, locked it, and thus turned the mission out of its own property.
I have to remark to your highness and your excellencies that such a proceeding is entirely unlawful and inadmissible. The missionaries were willing and are now willing to take another piece of property in exchange for the site to which the officials objected. Until such a change had been effected the property in dispute remained the property of the missionaries and the taotai had no authority to enter upon it.
The conduct of the officials throughout this affair is of a most remarkable character. During eight years they have arbitrarily retained possession of deeds sent them by an official of the United States for official purposes and now they forcibly take possession of property belonging to American citizens. I ask your highness and your excellencies if such flagrant disregard of the rights of foreigners is to be permitted on the part of officials under your control?
The manner of acquisition of land by Americans in China is set forth in Article XVII of the treaty with the United States executed in 1844. If the officials in Hainan will comply therewith, this affair can be speedily arranged.
The U. S. consul at Canton has asked the viceroy to issue a proclamation stating that, under the treaties, foreigners are entitled to buy land for missionary purposes, and that no native selling or leasing to them will incur punishment or persecution therefor. This is a reasonable request, and it is to be hoped that your highness and your excellencies will direct the viceroy to comply with it. There is no reason why further delay should occur in the settlement of this difficulty in Hainan, and I respectfully request that proper measures be taken to have it dealt with promptly, and in a spirit of tice.
Mr. Denby, chargé, to Mr. Gresham.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Peking, June 18, 1894. (Received August 6, 1894.) SIR: Referring to my dispatch No. 1861, of the 8th instant, I have the honor to inclose herewith the Yamên's reply concerning the seizure of land belonging to the American Presbyterian Mission in Hainan.
This dispatch gives a long account of the official investigation which followed the purchase of this land. The Yamnên asserts that the missionaries acquired the land by fraud, and states that the purchase money should be refunded them and the land revert to its original owners. In compliance with my request, however, the viceroy at Canton has been directed to investigate and report upon the case. I shall make no further representations to the Yamên in the premises until the viceroy's report shall have been received. Before that time, it is to be hoped, the case will have been brought to a satisfactory conclusion.
I have forwarded a copy of the Yamên's dispatch to the U. 8. consul at Canton, and have written him as follows:
Without putting faith in the Chinese authorities' charges of fraud in the acquisition of this land, I am of opinion that it would be advisable for the mission to give up the land in dispute, take back their purchase money, and agree with the authori. ties on another site of which they may have peaceable possession. Article xvii of the treaty of 1844 provides that Americans, in acquiring land, shall not unreasonably insist on particular spots. Article xir of the treaty of 1858 contains the same provision.
The viceroy being now directed to investigate this case, the time seems favorable for you to cooperato with him in bringing it to a conclusion. I hope you will be successful in inducing the Chinese authorities and the members of the mission to agree upon a site which may be acquirod without opposition and held in peaceful possession. I have, etc.,
CHAS. DENBY, JR.
(Inclosure in No. 1868.]
The Tsung-li-Yamên to Mr. Denby, chargé. Note.)
JUNE 13, 1894. Mr. CHARGÉ D'AFFAIRES: We have had the honor to receive your note wherein you bring to our notice the unlawful conduct of certain officials in the island of Hainan, with reference to a piece of land belonging to the American Presbyterian Mission, and you requested that proper measures be taken to have the matter dealt with promptly, and in a spirit of justice.
With regard to this case, we may observe that in the years 1886–87 His Excellency M. Coumany, Russian minister at that time, addressed the Yamên in reference thereto, and the Yamên in turn wrote to the viceroy at Canton to examine and deal with it accordingly.
In 1888, the viceroy at Canton reported as follows: Mr. Lin, magistrate of Chiung Shan district, presented a petition to effect that in this case, on the 5th of May, 1886, the literati, Cheng Tien-chang and others, lodged a joint complaint against Wang Ting-mu and others of having privately sold to foreigners the piece of land, outside of the west gate, known as Kan che Yuan, for the purpose of erecting buildings thereon. The said land is close to the city wall; it is on the west gate thoroughfare, where people are living scattered about, and it would not be convenient for foreigners to locate there, and the complainants, therefore, begged that the matter be investigated.
The former magistrate, Chen, deputed policemen to arrest Wang Ting-mu and the other men. Upon the 11th of May the magistrate heard their evidence, which was to effect that the piece of land outside of the west gate, known as the Kan che Yuan, was bought by them in 1879. In 1891 or 1892 (this is a mistake in the Chinese text. It was in 1886 or 1887] Wu Tse-chun, alias Wu Hung-chun, alias Wu Cho-chi, residing at the east gate of the prefectual city, suddenly appeared and stated that Wang I-cheng and Wang Ting-cheng, of a place called Fing An, wished to buy the land in question for the purpose of establishing a bookstore there. The price fixed upon was 600,000 cash, and they agreed to take the place. Deeds were made ont and the purchase money paid. Nothing was said about the place being bought by foreigners. Cheng Hsien-lien, a licentiate of Chiung Shan district, was present and knows all about the proceedings. Wu Hsien-chi made out the deeds. Suddenly there appeared a Dane, called Yeh-Chi-shan (Jeremiassen), who falsely claimed that he had purchased the property and was to erect a foreign building on it. This led to the literati lodging a complaint and asking their (Wang Ting-mu and others) arrest and examination. Further, a dispatch was sent to the foreigu official concerned requesting him to look into the matter. The men were willing to return the money and thus avoid popular indignation among the people.
After Mr. Magistrate Chen had vacated his office, his successor, Magistrate Jao, had the parties to the case brought before him. The acting British consul, Mr. Brown, called on the Taotai and discussed the matter with him. He set forth that Chiung Chow prefectural city was a treaty port; that the position assumed by Mr. Chen, former magistrate, in his communication that it was in the interior, was inadmissible. At the time, the acting Taotai issued instructions to have the boundaries surveyed, decide the question upon treaty basis, and report. The magistrate, Mr. Jao, had a survey made.
As to the treaty port of Chiung Chow, in the second moon of the third year of Kuang Hsu (about the beginning of 1877), the viceroy of Canton at that time ordered the taotai of Lei-chou and Chiung Chow to confer with the acting British consul, Mr. Bullock, and they agreed upon the following as the boundaries of the port: East, to the Pai-sha village; west, to the Yen-tsao village; south, to the Yieng-en bridge; north, to the Pei-sha Chiang or creek on the seacoast.
Land outside of the above boundaries is to be regarded as in the interior. A plan was made out and submitted, to be placed on file, and a communication, embodying the result of the survey arrived at, was sent to the British consul and is a matter of record.
After taking charge of his office, Magistrate Jao again had Wu Cho-chi brought before him by his police and examined him. He stated that, at the time when he was in league with others to buy the Kan che garden, Wang Ting-cheng and Wang I-cheng wore not at all connected with the transaction. It was a workman employed by the Danish Dr. Jeremiassen, named Chen Pu-hsuan, who approached and consulted with him, as he was afraid the owner would not like to sell the land to a foreigner. Therefore the names of Wang Ting-cheng and Wang I-cheng were falsely represented as the buyers and the names of Wang Sheng-chi and others were falsely represented as the sellers. The price, 600,000 cash, was agreed upon with Wang Sheng-chi and others. But Chen Pu-hsuan misappropriated or added for himself $200 and explained to the doctor that the purchase money would be $800. In addition, Wu Cho-chi got $50 as present money--making the total price of the land $850.
Chen Chuan-yen's name as writer of the deed was also a counterfeit and fabrication, and the evidence produced went to substantiate this fact.
At the time, a communication was sent to the British Consul, requesting him to instruct Mr. Jeremiassen to send Chen Pu-hsuan to court so that he could confront the other witnesses in evidence. Further, a summons was issued for Wang Sheng-chi to again appear in court for further examination. He testified that at the time the said flower garden was sold the transaction was in the hands of Wu Cho-chi and the only thing represented was that the place was sold to Wang: Ting.cheng and Wang I-cheng for the purpose of erecting buildings thereon. No mention was made that the place was sold to a foreign doctor. Wu Cho-chi’s having played a double part, a trick, in the transaction was not known to him. Since there had been a treacherous scheme in league with others to buy the land in question, he is willing to refund the $800 and cancel the sale. The amount received by Wu Cho-chi ($50) he is also willing to return himself to the foreign missionaries and requests that Wu cho-chi be incarcerated and steps be taken to recover the said sum.
The evidence of the middle men, Cheng Chuan-yen and others, coincided with the above.
It appears that foreigners have never been prohibited from acquiring property at the treaty ports, but the land in question is situate outside of the four boundaries of the port originally agreed upon. It necessarily rests with the owner of the land to say whether he is willing to part with it or not. The middle man Wu-cho-chi knew well that Wang Sheng-chi and others were not willing to sell the property to the foreign doctor, and the names Wang Ting-cheng and Wang I'cheng were a mere fabrication for the purpose of accomplishing the fraudulent purchase of it.
According to Chinese law the money paid for land fraudulently obtained should be confiscated, but considering that Mr. Jeremiassen is a Danisl doctor, it would not be convenient to restrain him by this law.
Now, according to the representations of Wang Sheng-chi and others, they are willing to returr. the purchase money, as well as the money squeezed by Chen Pu-hsuan and the present money of Wu Cho-chi, and thus settle the case and avoid further litigation and trouble.
In accordance with their wish the deeds should be canceled, the purchase money sent to the Taotai, to be temporarily retained by him in his treasury until it can be handed over to the foreigners and the property revert to the original owners. The viceroy is requested to address the Tsung-li-Yamên to have the case in question canceled, which would be just and equitable.
The Yamên, having received the foregoing representations, would observe that with reference to the said doctor, Yeh Chi Shan, in the communication sent, he is styled Yeh-li-mi-sen, a Dane.
A workman in said doctor's employ, one Chen Pu-hsuan, in league with Wu Cho-chi, by the use of false names, fraudulently purchased the land of Wang Ting-mu and others. The magistrate tried the case in court and took the evidence of witnesses. He decided that the money should be returned, the case brought to a close, and the property revert to the original owner. The action thus taken is in accordance with law. The said doctor did not actually come into full possession of the property; hence how could he lease or sell property of another man to the American Presbyterian Mission?
Further, the matter has been pending eight years, and if the case was one bona fide in its nature how is it that the missionaries formerly had nothing to say about it?
Further, it appears that in 1889 Minister Denby, on his return to Peking from Canton, addressed the Yamên in regard to the American missionary cases at Canton, in all five, requesting that no time be lost in bringing them to a termination. Nothing was said about the land question now under discussion. It would, therefore, seem that the representations made by the missionaries are not real an well founded. But as you have asked that the matter be looked into and dealt with accordingly, the Yamên has addressed the viceroy at Canton to clearly investigate it and transmit a report thereon, on receipt of which we will communicate the same to you. In the meantime we send this note for your information.
Cards of ministers with compliments.
Mr. Adee to Mr. Denby, chargé.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, August 8, 1894. SIR: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 1868, of June 18 last, in regard to the seizure of land belonging to the American Presbyterian Mission in Hainan.
The opinion expressed in your communication to the consul at Canton is judicious and in the line of the treaty stipulation requiring mutual agreement as to mission sites. I am, etc.,
ALVEY A. ADEE,
Mr. Denby, chargé, to Mr. Gresham,
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Peking, June 29, 1894. (Received August 16, 1894.) SIR: Referring to my dispatch No. 1868, of the 18th instant, concerning the dispute in the island of Hainan 'over the choice of a mission site, I have the honor to report that the viceroy has consented to the selection of such a site in cooperation with the missionaries.
I have expressed to the U. S. consul at Canton a hope that this consent will be availed of to bring this dispute to a termination. I have, etc.,
CHAS. DENBY, JR.