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Mr. Denby, chargé, to Mr. Gresham. No. 1867.]
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Peking, June 15, 1894. (Received July 27, 1894.) SIR: I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of a note addressed by the Russian minister, dean of the diplomatic body, to the Yamên, and of the Yamên's reply, with reference to autiforeign placards which have again appeared in the province of Hu-pei.
Copies of these placards were forwarded by the consular corps at Hankow to the diplomatic body at Peking, and a protest against them was placed before the viceroy at Hankow.
These placards at present complained of differ from previous attacks on foreigners in that they do not advocate their abuse and ill treatment directly, but denounce and threaten vengeance on all Chinese who may have relations with the barbarians,” and particularly those who may sell or lease them land. In a handbill posted up in the Sung-pu district it is stated that “foreigners may, in accordance with the laws of hospitality, be boarded and lodged, but any innkeeper who dares to keep them more than a few days will, on discovery, have his house razed to the ground and his land converted to the public use."
It is also directed that foreigners' books must not be bought, and that those who buy them shall “be dealt with by the people.”
This handbill threatens with death anyone who sells land to foreigners. It closes with the announcement, “If anyone in his greed for gain permits a foreigner to build other houses, the headman is to inform us; we will destroy them and thus prevent future calamities.”
The proclamations in the other localities are of the same character.
The people of Sung-pu and vicinity, frightened by the terrible calamities which the official investigation of the murder of the Swedish missionaries last year brought upon them, seem determined on a policy of absolute nonintercourse with foreigners. They regard the presence of a missionary or a chapel as a source from which at any moment great disasters may arise, and there can be no doubt of the efficacy of their preventive measures. These proclamations, however, tend directly to excite active hostility to foreigners, andit is to be hoped that the authori. ties will use vigorous means to suppress them. I have, etc.,
CHARLES DENBY, JR.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 1867.]
JUNE 1, 1894. YOUR HIGHNESS AND YOUR EXCELLENCIES: I learn that placards extremely hostile to foreigners, of which you will find inclosed several specimens, have been again posted in different localities of Hu-kuang, and noticeably at Sung-pu itself, where last year two unfortunate Swedish missionaries were traitorously massacred, and at Huang-chou.
In the presence of these facts and others, as that of the outrages of which a Russian subject at Hankow, Mr. Daniloft, was recently the victim, which prove once more that the hostility of the people along the Yangtze toward peaceable foreigners has in no respect diminished, the foreign representatives believe it to be their duty to insist in the most energetic manner that the Tsung-li-Yamên give the most severe orders to the provincial authorities in order to prevent the recurrence of events so sincerely to be regretted, and in order to assure to foreigners the liberty and security which the treaties guarantee them.
While recognizing that the Tsung-li-Yamên has, to a certain degree, complied with the demands formulated by Colonel Denby in the name of the diplomatic body in his letter of the 20 February last, in having posted anew in certain localities along the Yangtze the important imperial edict of the 13th June, 1891, it is greatly to be regretted, firstly, that the Imperial Government has not given it greater publicity, and, above all, that the Government has not considered it its duty to have this edict preceded or followed by a sentence with reference to what occurred at Sung-pu, and that this edict has not, therefore, produced the effect which was to be expected of it.
The foreign representatives accredited to Peking expect that your imperial highness and your excellencies will not fail to take the necessary steps in order that these placards, which they (?) have had the audacity to post beside the imperial edict of 1891, be removed, their authors punished, and that, finally, the most severe oversight be exercised to put an end to this excitement of the people against foreigners, which might lead to a recurrence of the melancholy events of last year.
I am charged to make this communication in the name of my colleagues of the diplomatic corps, and I seize this occasion to renew to your imperial highness and your excellencies the assurances, ete.
(Inclosure 2 in No. 1867.]
The Tsung-li-Yamén to Count Cassini.
JUNE 9, 1894. On the 28th day of the fourth moon of the twentieth year of Kuang Hsü (1st June, 1894) we received from your excellency a dispatch under cover of which you sent us two anonymous placards coming from Ma-Ch'eng (department of Huang-chou), and in which you asked us to give orders to the high authorities of the said province in order to secure the exercise of such protection as the treaties provide.
This Yamên, having telegraphed to the province of Hupei that the facts be ascertained and preventive measures taken, received from the viceroy of Hu-kuang the following telegraphic reply:
In the matter of placards at Sung-pu and other localities in the subprefecture of Ma-ch'eng, I had previously received dispatches from several consuls at Hankow, and I have already ordered the local authorities to actively search for such placards and to forbid and to destroy them. The people of Sung-pu, fearing that some affair similar to that of last year might occur, have joined together and exercise themselves supervision. This causes no harm to foreigners. If one considers attentively the sentiments of the people at this hour one can not fail to give secret and severe orders of a preventive character, but one can not act with too great precipitation lest disorder might ensue.
This Yamên has again ordered the local authorities to continue their investigations, and in case placards are found they will prohibit them; we also send a copy of your excellency's dispatch to the viceroy of Hu-kuang that he may reply in detail. We consider it also our duty to address to your excellency this reply for your information.
Mr. Denby, chargé, to Mr. Gresham.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Peking, June 19, 1894. (Received August 6, 1894.) SIR: I have the honor to state that, on the 15th instant, I received, from the consul-general of the United States at Shanghai, a telegram stating that the consul at Canton had wired him that antiforeign placards were posted at that city, that serious trouble was expected, and asking protection.
Immediately upon the receipt thereof, I sent a note to the Tsung-liYamên requesting that telegraphic orders be sent to Canton enjoining the protection of foreigners.
The Yamên states to me, in reply, that the viceroy telegraphs them that “the Hongkong authorities were burning the houses of Chinese in order to drive out the plague, and under foreign medical treatment many Chinese have died. Further, the Hongkong authorities have refused to allow Chinese to return to Canton by steamer, and all this has led to disturbing the minds of the people at Canton; hence the placards that have been posted."
The viceroy further says that he has issued orders prohibiting the posting of placards, and that he has sent vessels to Hongkong to bring to Canton those Chinese rendered homeless by the Hongkong officials.
The Yamên assures me, in conclusion, that the viceroy has been again ordered, in compliance with my request, to take earnest action to protect foreigners.
From other sources I learn that the Hongkong government has been driven to the use of the most drastic measures for the suppression of the plague, even to the destruction of part of the city. The prohibition to return to Canton by steamer has, however, been removed, and the Chinese are leaving Hongkong in enormous numbers. It is said that 120,000 of them have already departed, carrying into Canton and other cities their dead and plague-stricken countrymen.
Quarantine against the southern ports has been declared at Shanghai and Tientsin, which cities, happily, have so far escaped a visitation of this malady. It is to be hoped it will not make its appearance at Peking, the foulness of whose streets would present every encouragement to its ravages. I have, etc.,
CHAS. DENBY, JR.
PROPOSED REGULATIONS FOR FOREIGNERS TRAVELING IN CHINA.
Mr. Denby to Mr. Gresham.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, Peking, December 6, 1893. (Received January 19, 1894.) SIR: In my dispatch No. 1758,* of the 15th of November, I had the honor to transmit a translation of a communication from the Yamên, wherein it requested the foreign representatives to devise a plan by which foreigners traveling in China should be required to report in person to the magistrates through whose jurisdiction they might pass.
* See Foreign Relations, 1893, p. 241.
I inclose a copy of my answer, as dean, to that communication. It will be seen that the foreign representatives found themselves unable to agree to the proposed plan. "I thoroughly concur in the conclusion arrived at. I have, etc.,
(Inclosure in No. 1764.]
Mr. Denby to the Tsung-li- Yamên.
DECEMBER 5, 1893. YOUR HIGHNESS AND YOUR EXCELLENCIES: On the 10th of November the minister of the United States had the honor to receive from your highness and your excellencies a communication which set forth a communication from the governor-general of Hu-kuang to the Tsungli-Yamên and one from the taotai of Ching Chow, Ichang, and Shihnan to the governor-general
The purport of these papers was that foreigners traveling in China should be required, when applying for passports, either at Peking or in the provinces, to report their intended movements, and while traveling should report in person to the subprefects or magistrates found en route, their arrival as well as their intended movements.
After setting forth these two communications, your highness and your excellencies conclude by requesting the minister of the United States “to communicate with his colleagues, consider the question presented, and try to adopt, as quickly as practicable, a feasible plan of action, and inform the prince and ministers thereof, so that they may instruct the high authorities of the provinces to act accordingly." And your highness and your excellencies further say, “The Yamén is, in this matter, actuated by a sincere desire to give protection to foreigners traveling under passports."
The minister of the United States duly transmitted to his colleagues the original and an English translation of this important communication. Two meetings have been held by the foreign representatives to consider its contents, and after mature deliberation, they have instructed the minister of the United States to transmit to the prince and ministers the following answer thereto:
The foreign representatives appreciate the honorable and praiseworthy motive that produced the paper under consideration, it being, as stated by the prince and ministers, to insure the protection of foreigners when traveling. They find themselves, however, unable to assent to the proposition that ail foreigners, when traveling in China, shall report in person to the magistrates through whose jurisdiction they happen to pass. To do so would be impracticable. A heavy burden would be laid upon foreigners by such a rule, and the penalty suggested by the taotai for failure to comply with it, to wit, the forfeiture of protection, is by no means admissible.
A more serious objection, and one which is, to the minds of the foreign representatives, insuperable, is that the proposed rule would materially change the purport of the treaties. To make this apparent, the minister of the United States calls attention to the provisions of the British treaty with China, signed at Tientsin, 26th June, 1858, which have been, in substance, incorporated in every treaty that has been made with China since that date.
Article ix of that treaty reads as follows: British subjects are hereby authorized to travel, for their pleasure or for purposes of trade, to all parts of the interior under passports which will be issued by their consuls and countersigned by the local authorities. These passports, if demanded, must be produced for examination in the localities passed through. If the passport be not irregular the bearer will be allowed to proceed.
Article xviii of the same treaty contains this language: The Chinese authorities shall, at all times, afford the fullest protection to the persons and property of British subjects.
It will be seen from the first article quoted that travelers are not required to report to officials en route, but are only required to exhibit their passports when a demand to do so is made. Such, the minister of the United States believes, is the rule existing in all countries where the system of passports prevails.
The prince and ministers will readily admit that it is not in the power of any foreign representative to add to or take from a treaty any material clause, and that their request can not, therefore, be complied with.
It is questionable, also, whether the proposed rule would accomplish any good purpose. The presence of foreigners in any locality in the interior is immediately known to all the population, the officials included, and travelers perfectly understand that, in case of trouble, they have the right to apply to the officials for protection and that it is the duty of the local authorities to protect him. The minister of the United States takes this occasion to renew, etc.,
Mr. Denby to Mr. Gresham.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Peking, December 20, 1893. (Received February 13., SIR: In my dispatch No. 1764, of the 6th instant, I inclosed a copy of a dispatch sent by me, as dean of the diplomatic body, to the Tsung. li-Yamên, relating to the request of the Yamên that foreigners traveling in China should be required to report to the local authorities, found en route, their arrival and intended movements.
I have now the honor to inclose a translation of the Yamên's answer to that dispatch. The diplomatic body has not taken any action as yet on this paper. I have, etc.,
[Inclosure in No. 1770.]
DECEMBER 15, 1893. YOUR EXCELLENCY: Upon the 5th of December the prince and ministers had the honor to receive a communication from the minister of the United States, acknowledging receipt of the Yamên's communication (of the 10th November last), setting forth a dispatch from the governor-general of Hu-kuang to the Yamên and a report from the taotai of Ching Chow, Ichang, and Shihnan to the governor-general, to the effect that foreigners traveling in China should be required, when