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[Inclosure with No. 1501.]
Mr. Denby to the Tsuug-li Yamên.
YOUR HIGHNESS AND YOUR EXCELLENCIES: The American consul at Canton has forwarded to me copies of two proclamations issued by the likin office at that place, offering rewards for the arrest of some Chinese in the service of foreign firms, for having made a fraudulent use of transit passes.
Copies of these proclamations which were issued January 26 and February 18, respectively, I have the honor to inclose. Furthermore, complaints have reached me from Canton that likin was levied on imports sent into the interior under transit passes as well as an extra lo-ti-shui after such imports had reached their destination; lastly, a few days ago I received a telegram from the American consul at Canton informing me that in consequence of the action of the likin officials and the refusal of the governor-general to listen to the demands for redress made by the foreign consuls, the trade under transit passes had entirely ceased and thus serious harm had been done to the general import trade. With reference to these facts your highness and your excellencies will allow me to draw your attention to Section II, Article IV of the Chefoo convention, and rule 7 of the convention for the regulation of trade concluded between China and the United States in 1858, under which Chinese and foreigners alike are entitled to use transit passes for the transport of imports into the interior; it is therefore difficult to understand how Chinese could fraudulently use transit passes for imports to the use of which they are legally entitled.
The levy of likin on imports under transit passes on their way to the interior is forbidden by treaty. The action of the likin officials and the failure of the governor general to grant redress when appealed to by the consuls must therefore be considered as a serious infraction of the provisions of the treaties, and will entitle foreign merchants to claim heavy damages for the hindrances thrown into the way of the import trade in foreign goods.
In order to avoid snch claims and the unpleasant negotiations to which they would give rise, I have the honor to request your highness and your excellencies to issue without delay telegraphic instructions to the governor-general of the two Kuangs to order the likin office to withdraw the two proclamations above mentioned, as likely to cause the impression as if the Chinese were forbidden the use of transit passes for imports, and to cease the levy of illegal taxes on imports protected by transit passes, either in transitu or after their arrival at their destination without making a difference on account of the nationality of the persons possessing and carrying such imports. I must further request your highness and your excellencies to instruct the governor-general by telegraph to render public by proclamation the orders thus issued to the likin office in order to allay the apprehension and incertitude caused by the latter's action. I shall at the same time cause the American consul to forward to me an account of all the losses suffered already or incurred afterwards by American merchants through the action of the likin office, for the amount of which losses I must hold the Chinese Government responsible.
Mr. Denby to Mr. Blaine.
LEGATION OF THE
SIR: I have the honor to inform you that I have received a dispatch from Consul Seymour, wherein he states that on Sunday, March 20, at Chik Horn, in the Hoy Ping district, province of Kwantung, about 120 miles northwest of Canton, a chapel of the American Presbyterian Mission, and the house of the native preacher, a rented house, were looted by a gang of ruffians. The disturbance took place during divine service. Mr. Seymour has taken proper steps to secure redress.
I have, etc,
Mr. Denby to Mr. Blaine.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, Peking, April 10, 1892. (Received May 27.)
SIR: In my dispatch No. 1501, of March 29 I had the honor to send a copy of my communication to the foreign office relating to the action of the lekin authorities at Canton adverse to the issuance of transit passes.
I have now the honor to inclose a translation of the reply of the yamên to my communication. This reply consists mostly of denials that any opposition has been manifested to the issuance of transit passes. But the matter is too evident to require any proof except to note that in 1891 there issued two thousand transit passes, and in January, 1892, one hundred and twenty-six. The proclamations complained of appeared January 26, and in February the number of transit passes fell to six, all of which were for cotton yarn.
These figures are reported to me by Mr. Seymour. There can be no doubt that the hostile action of the lekin authorities caused this practical extinction of transit passes. The foreign office has been requested to wire its directions to the viceroy, and further correspondence will
I have, etc.,
[Inclosure with No. 1513.]
The tsung-li yamên to Mr. Denby.
APRIL 7, 1892.
YOUR EXCELLENCY: The prince and ministers had the honor to receive, on March 26, a communication from the United States minister in regard to the posting of proclamations by the lekin authorities at Canton, setting forth that unprincipled and crafter [crafty] Chinese merchants had assumed the names of foreign merchants and falsely used transit passes for the purpose of smuggling and evading the payment of lekin, and offering a reward for their arrest. The United States minister furthermore states that complaints have reached him from Canton that lekin was levied on imports sent into the interior under transit passes as well as an extra lo-ti-shui after such imports had reached their destination; that in consequence of the action of the lekin officials the trade under transit passes had entirely ceased, and thus harm had been done to the general import trade. Reference is made to section 3 of the Chefoo convention, under which Chinese ard foreigners alike are entitled to use transit passes, and it is therefore difficult to understand how Chinese could fraudulently use transit passes; that the levy of lekin on imports under passes on their way into the interior is forbidden by treaty, and the duty leviable on goods covered by transit passes on arrival at their destination can not, under treaty, be greater than on goods not covered by passes. The lekin office has acted in violation of treaty stipulations, and the minister of the United States must hold the Chinese Government responsible for any losses American merchants may suffer through such illegal action.
The yamên at the time telegraphed to the governor-general at Canton to investigate the matter, and a cablegram in reply has been received from that officer as follows: "Chinese merchants as well as foreign merchants are alike permitted to take out transit passes without the payment of lekin on the goods they cover. The rule of action hitherto taken in Yuet [sic] provinces has been in accordance with treaty stipulations. No prohibitions have been enacted against Chinese merchants taking out transit passes and no extra lekin has been levied on the goods these documents cover. But foreign merchants should apply for passes in their own names and also the Chinese merchants in their names. They should not borrow or use the names of others. Recently Chinese merchants have applied for transit passes and many have
assumed the names of foreign merchants, the evils resulting from this being very great. Foreign merchants of regular bona fide standing are men naturally of respectability, and in applying for transit passes they, as a matter of course, observe and respect the treaties. But among Chinese merchants there are those who are avaricious and greedy for a little gain, and who secretly carry goods and smuggle, and they, therefore, assume the names of foreign merchants, as they wish by such a plan to avoid suspicion. Such crafty merchants by their acts not only prove detrimental to the collection of lekin in the interior, but they injure and destroy the reputation of foreign merchants. Again, the importation recently of foreign goods has not fallen off. A reference to the custom returns is evidence of this fact. Since the native authorities at Canton have never prohibited the application for transit passes, they have never detained merchandise or refused even once to grant transit passes. The statement in regard to paying indemnities for losses is decidedly one that the viceroy can not understand."
The yamên would observe that the Canton authorities have never prohibited Chinese from obtaining passes. Their action has been in accordance with treaty stipulations. The expression "assuming” in the proclamations issued by the lekin office meant that Chinese had assumed foreign merchants' names for the purpose of smuggling by the art of deception, and the prohibition of such practices is certainly in accordance with the stipulations of section 3 of the Chefoo convention. Further, the action taken is also in accordance with the terms of Article X of the rules appended to the tariff, which reads that it is at the option of the Chinese Government to adopt what means appear to it best suited to protect its revenue. But the wording of the proelamations was not perfectly clear in its meaning, and, therefore, on reading them it has led to doubt. From the reply of the viceroy no chin has been levied on goods covered by transit passes. The yamén will, as a matter of course, address the viceroy at Canton to again issue strenuous instructions to observe (?) the treaties.
Mr. Denby to Mr. Blaine.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, Peking, April 12, 1892. (Received May 27.) SIR: I have the honor to inclose a copy of a communication sent by me to the foreign office on the subject of the "Hunan publications," wherein I urgently request that the circulation of these publications be suppressed. Strenuous efforts have heretofore been made by the diplomatic body to secure this result, but as I have received lately several petitions from American citizens to press this subject, I judge best to send to the foreign office the inclosed communication.
I have, etc.,
[Inclosure with No. 1514.]
Mr. Denby to the tsung-li yamên.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
YOUR HIGHNESS AND YOUR EXCELLENCIES: I have the honor to inform your highness and your excellencies that I am in receipt of divers petitions signed by Americans and others, asking me to request your highness and your excellencies to take active steps for the suppression of what are generally called the "Hunan publications." A very general belief prevails among foreigners in China that publications of this nature were last year influential causes of riots, and it is feared that if they are now permitted to circulate freely among the people like disorders will ensue during the present spring. The papers and placards complained of are in no sense a fair or proper argument against Christianity, but are obcsene libels charging foreigners with every species of crime and immorality and are directly calculated and intended to produce antiforeign riots. Their plain purpose to accomplish this end is set out in language which advises murder, arson, and outrage. No government in
the world would fail to take the most urgent measures to restrain the flow of vile obscenity embodied in these publications. It is well known that the recent riots were preceded by the circulation of these publications; that the names of the authors and circulators thereof are, in some cases, known; that these persons are not a secret society, but act publicly; and that while the local officials have shown great energy in arresting and punishing the members of the Kolao Hhui, but little has been done in punishing the persons who have circulated these publications. The question of preventing riots and public disorders is as important to the Chinese Government as it is to foreigners, but in a different sense. For the foreigner, his life and property are involved. For himself protection is, as to all other persons, the supreme law of nature. Riots involve the Chinese Government in great expense, weaken its just authority, and bring it into disrepute among foreign nations. I am persuaded that your highness and your excellencies desire that peace and tranquillity shall prevail in China as earnestly as I, myself, do. I beg, therefore, that active measures be taken to suppress one of the chief causes of disorder; that is to say, the libelous publications above referred to.
Mr. Denby to Mr. Blaine.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, Peking, April 13, 1892. (Received May 27.) SIR: The missionary associations engaged in work in China have long recognized the necessity of establishing schools for the young in which natives should be educated who might become in their turn teachers and preachers. As to the range of the education to be provided there has been a difference of opinion. Some missionaries have contended that money donated for religious work should not be used for educational work except of the lowest and most necessary grade.
Others have contended that in a country like China, whose people hold education in such high esteem, the very best advantages should be afforded to the youths who are to be prepared to be able to influence their countrymen.
Influenced by these latter ideas the ordinary school in some places has developed into the college. This has notably been the case at Tungcho, 14 miles from Peking, where the American board established in 1872 a common school, which is now about to take rank as a college, and which deserves by its thoroughness and advanced grades of study this new distinction. The most notable departure in this line is, however, the establishment of the Peking University by the Methodist mission. The institution was fully organized the 2d day of December, 1891. The board of managers met at this legation that day and adopted all the rules and regulations required to organize the practical working of the university. Among the members of the board of managers are to be found Mr. J. H. Ferguson, minister of the Netherlands; Sir Robert Hart, inspector-general of imperial maritime customs; Dr. W. A. P. Martin, president of the Tungwen College; Mr. John Rhein, interpreter of the Netherlands legation; Dr. Henry Blodgett, the oldest missionary now here; many other missionaries, both English and American; some other gentlemen, and myself.
The managers represent the best intellect among the foreigners in China. The design is to furnish to the students all the branches of an elevated collegiate course. A very large plot of ground almost adjoining the premises of the Methodist mission has been purchased from the Italian legation, and suitable buildings are now being erected with great rapidity. The president of the university, who is ex officio president of the board of managers, is Rev. L. W. Pilcher. The vice-presidents of the board of managers are Dr. W. A. P. Martin, Rev. Henry
Blodgett, D. D., and myself. The institution is designed to be as little sectarian as possible. From the members of the faculty the only declaration required is that they hold to the doctrines of the scripture as set forth in the Apostles' Creed, and that they will teach nothing contrary thereto. All the bishops of the Methodist Church who have visited Peking have enthusiastically indorsed the plan of a university. The board at home has approved it. A charter has been granted, by the State of New York.
I do not doubt that the institution will be successful in its main object of securing for China a highly educated native ministry.
I have, etc.,
Mr. Denby to Mr. Blaine.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, Peking, April 15, 1892. (Received May 27.) SIR: I have the honor to, inclose herewith a translation of the dispatch of Kung, intendant of circuit, embodying the reply of the viceroy of Hupei and Hunan to the protest of the consuls at Hankow in matters relating to the failure of the officials at Hukuang to carry out the injunctions contained in the imperial decree of June 13, 1891. After reciting the contents of the protest of the consuls, the viceroy states that the posting of anonymous placards is prohibited in China, and that he has issued proclamations against this practice. He insists that the missionaries should refuse to receive foundlings in their asylums. He claims that it is for China to regulate punishment for offenses by its people against its laws.
I have, etc.,
[Inclosure in No. 1516.-Translation.]
Kung, taotai of Hankow, to Mr. Andrews.
Upon the February 21, 1892, the taotai received a communication from his excellency Chang, governor-general, stating that he had received a joint note from the consuls, acting consuls, vice-consuls, and acting vice-consuls, representing the various foreign powers at Hankow, wherein they referred to the fact that the Chinese authorities of Hukuang had not exerted themselves to respect and carry into effect the stringent prohibitory injunctions set forth in the imperial decree of the 13th June, 1891, against the posting of anonymous placards, which the consular body regarded with great dissatisfaction. They had heard that in spite of the imperial edict, and in spite of the orders given by the yamên, a dissemination not only in secret but entirely openly is being made by evil-doers to excite Chinese to exterminate Christians and to ruin the Christian religion. It is known, moreover, that placards have been posted on the walls of various cities, especially in Hunan. Further, that several thousand copies of a pamphlet called "Kwei-chiao Kai sze" (Death to the Devil's Religion) have been printed in the capital of Hunan. The consul's protest against the weakness of the provincial authorities in making the edict of His Imperial Majesty respected, and request the viceroy to take in future such measures as they may deem expedient to put a stop to these hostile disseminations. They also believe that these pamphlets and placards are not the work of simple men, but of educated persons holding official positions, and that it is absolutely necessary that the guilty parties of all ranks should be punished in an exemplary manner. They further inform the viceroy that they deem it their duty to bring the above protest to the notice of the different representatives of the foreign powers at the court of Peking.