Mr. Burlingame to Mr. Seward.

No. 22.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I arrived at this place on the 20th of July. The journey was tedious, but still accomplished without serious inconvenience. The foreign and Chinese officials offered me every facility for my progress. At Tien-Tsin I had a pleasant interview with Tsung How, commissioner of trade. From Tien-Tsin I came by the river Peiho as far as Tung-chau by boat, and from there—twelve miles—in a chair which had been kindly sent by Count Kleczkowski, charge d’affaires of the French.

The commissioner of trade sent with me a high mandarin and a guard. The mandarin was compelled to return because of a severe attack of cholera, a disease which is now raging throughout this region. .

The hospitality of the foreign legations was kindly tendered me. I accepted that of the French, as it was the first proffered.

On my arrival at Tien-Tsin I addressed a letter, marked A, to Mr. Bruce, the British minister; also a letter to Prince Kung, marked B. To these letters I received replies, copies of which I send, marked C and D. I send, also, a letter marked E, which I addressed to Vice Admiral Sir James Hope, before I left Shanghai. On my arrival at Peking I addressed a note, marked F, to Prince Kung, to which he replied that his father-in-law, Kweiliang, had just died, but that in a few days he would be pleased to have an interview. Two of the members of the foreign office called and expressed their delight at my arrival, and at the same time presented the misfortunes of Prince Kung. I find that a great change has taken place in the disposition of the Chinese since my predecessor found such trouble in Peking.

I have in my suite Dr. S. Wells Williams, interpreter, B. Wistar Fellowes, private secretary, and the Rev. J. S. I. Schereschewki, who will establish the first American mission in Peking.

I have the honor to be your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.


Sir: I have the honor to inform your excellency of my arrival at this place, and that I propose to depart for Peking, by way of Tung-Chow, on Monday next.

I forwarded to you a letter from Vice-Admiral Sir James Hope immediately upon my arrival, but without any explanatory letter, save a hasty note, written while your courier waited, to Count Kleczkowski.

The uniform kindness I have received from her Majesty’s officials since my arrival in China demands from me an acknowledgment, and makes it my pleasant duty to put myself into confidential relations with her chief representative. To this end I am happy to inform you that my co-operation with Sir James at Ningpo and Shanghai—of which, doubtless, you are advised—has received the hearty approval of my government, and the following language from the Secretary of State has been given me as a guide for the future; “The interests [Page 848] of this country, (United States,) so far as I understand them, are identical with, those of the two other nations (England and France) I have mentioned.

“There is no reason to doubt that British and French ministers are acting in such a manner as will promote the interests of all the western nations. You are therefore instructed to consult and co-operate with them, unless in special cases there shall be very satisfactory reasons for separating from them.”

In the full spirit of these instructions I propose cordially to meet your excellency, and to “consult and co-operate” for the common good of our respective nations.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. F. W. A. Bruce, C. B.,Her Britannic Majesty’s Envoy, &c., &c., &c.,


The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States to China, has the honor to inform his highness, Prince Kung, that on the 29th day of May last he sent him a despatch, intimating his intention to proceed on to the capital in order to deliver the letter from the President with which he is charged; and though he has not yet learned that that despatch has been received, he has now further to communicate his arrival at Tien-Tsin, and that as soon as preparations are made he will proceed on his way to Peking. This note is now forwarded in advance, in order to make known to his highness that he has come to this place.


His Imperial Highness Prince Kung.


Sir: I have honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency’s despatch, dated Tien-Tsin, July 10th, with the letter of Sir J. Hope, which you were good enough to transmit to me by previous occasion.

It is with much pleasure that I learn your approaching arrival, as it will be most satisfactory to me to have the benefit of your counsels in endeavoring to provide for the security of foreign interests and trade amid the serious complications presented by the existing condition of China.

I am glad to hear that Sir J. Hope, and those of her Majesty’s officials who have been in communication with your excellency, have met you in the cordial spirit which it is the wish of her Majesty’s government should animate its agents in China towards the representative of the United States.

Count Kleczkowski informed me that he had offered you the hospitality of the French legation until your arrangements are made. I need not say that the British legation is placed most willingly at your disposal.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


A. BURLINGAME, &c., &c., &c.


Kung, a prince of the imperial house, and secretary of the affairs of foreign nations, herewith replies:

I had the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency’s previous despatch, in which you expressed the cordial sentiments you feel as being those which exhibit the amicable relations now existing between our countries; and [Page 849] have now the honor of again replying to a despatch just at hand, in which you inform me of your arrival at Tien-Tsin, and that you intend soon to start for the capital.

The intention of your excellency’s present visit to Peking is to make known the friendly feelings which exist towards this country, that the subjects of both may thereby feel that they should act in the same spirit; and henceforth these amicable relations will be strengthened, and the merchants and citizens of both countries receive increased benefit.

It is for this purpose that I write this reply.

His Excellency Anson Burlingame, Envoy Extraordinary, &c., &c., U. S. A.


Sir: I cannot proceed to Peking without thanking you most sincerely, not only for your many acts of kindness to me personally, but for the protection you have never failed to extend to my countrymen during the exciting period through which we have passed.

As soon as I arrived at Shanghai you did me the honor to call upon me and, with a delicacy I cannot forget, you made reference to the disturbed stat of my country, and generously suggested that your force was, for purposes o protection, at my disposal, and not only stated it, but kindly addressed a letter to me to the same effect, in which you gave a proffer of the same protection to my countrymen as to your own.

You have more than redeemed your promises. In as far as I co-operated with you at Ningpo and Shanghai, I am happy to inform you that I have received the hearty approval of my government, which has instructed me to follow the line of policy hitherto pursued by me, and, as the western powers have a common interest in China, to consult and co-operate with them in the line of policy to be pursued in the future.

I hope your own desires and the commands of her Majesty’s government may continue you in China; that the vigorous policy pursued by you may have its fruition in the establishment of order and immunity from a rebellion which, in its present form, can have no defenders among those who wish well to the human race.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Vice-Admiral Sir James Hope.


I arrived at the capital on the 20th instant, and am at present temporarily stopping at the legation of France. When the various duties incident on arrival are attended to, it will be proper to present the President’s letter to his Majesty. At your highness’s leisure, please appoint a day when I can in person assure you of my sincere regard; and, meanwhile, I avail myself of this opportunity to respectfully wish you the enjoyment of every happiness.

  1. The above was received at Matan, on the Peiho, and a note sent back by the courier, acknowledging its receipt, on the 17th of July.