Papers Relating to Foreign Affairs, Accompanying the Annual Message of the President to the Third Session of the Fortieth Congress
Mr. Williams to Mr. Seward
Sir: Referring to Mr. Burlingame’s dispatches Nos. 137 and 142, and their inclosures, I have now the honor to forward to you General Legendre’s report of his visit to the southern part of Formosa, and his interview with the chief of the aboriginal tribes in that region, by whom the crew of the Rover was destroyed. The narrative is well worthy a perusal, and the success of this effort to enter into direct communication with them may lead to the repetition of similar negotiations as the most [Page 504] promising means of preventing similar tragedies in future. I am sure that you will appreciate the perseverance and tact exhibited by the consul in carrying out his design, while his final arrangement and compact with the chief was doubtless owing as much or more to the impression made upon the savages by the energetic proceedings of Admiral Bell with his squadron, than to any other one cause.
I have no knowledge of the occurrences referred to by the Chief Tooke-tock, at the interview on the 10th of October last, wherein he excused his cruelty to the Rover’s crew by alleging that “a long time ago white people had all but exterminated the Koolut tribe, leaving only three who survived to hand down to their posterity the desire for revenge.” No such raid upon this region is recorded as having taken place in modern times; but it may possibly have been some proceedings of the Dutch troops in Tai-wan before the year 1683, (when they were driven from the island,) which have left this heritage of enmity. I have never heard of any expedition of Spanish colonists from the Philippine Islands to the southern end of Formosa; their settlement was at the northern end, at Killon or Ki-lung. Several foreign crews have been cast ashore, not far from where the Rover’s crew met their fate, during the last 20 years, from which few persons have survived.
I would have forwarded this narrative sooner, but it reached me only last week. The communications between Peking and Shanghai during the winter are slow, and one of the couriers going to Chinkiang with the foreign post-bag last month was killed in Shantung province by the insurgents and the letters lost.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
Mr. Le Gendre to Mr. Burlingame
Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 17, I have the honor to state that, on the 3d of September last, the steamship Volunteer, in the Viceroy’s service, anchored at Amoy, and the next morning the officer commanding the vessel called at the consulate, with an interpreter designated by the Viceroy to accompany me during the expedition. It was to inform me that the steamer was placed at my order.
Yet the arrival of the Volunteer having been expected for some days, and her destination being known, some excitement was caused at Amoy, and during the day I noted an unusual agitation at the British consulate, the bearing of which I could not then well apprehend, but which has since appeared to be not entirely foreign to the difficulties I had to encounter. Many of the British, under the most tempting pretexts, offered to accompany me; but I concluded to decline all applications save that of a French traveling gentleman, Mr. Joseph Bernare, who, from his knowledge of Formosa and the Chinese, was qualified to act as my secretary with a devotion I had learned at other times not to doubt of.
At 5 p. m., on my way to the vessel, I met the interpreter and the officer in charge of the Volunteer, showing appearance of great haste. They said that a dispatch from the Viceroy at Foochow ordered them to take me simply and directly to Takao; and further, that the Chinese admiral at Amoy wished to accompany me, and therefore the departure of the steamer would be postponed until the next day, at 12 m. This circumstance, which I had not been called to foresee during the official interview of the morning, led me to suspect some hostile design, and I hastened to embark.
Arrived on board, I communicated to the mandarin the dispatch of the Viceroy, in which no mention was made of my departing for Formosa being dependent on the pleasure of an admiral or any other official. The steamer was placed at my order, not to Takao, or any other specified port, but to Formosa. Hence I insisted on starting at once for Taiwanfoo, where I had to go first. Yet night had come on, and, yielding to [Page 505] the representations of the mate that there would be some danger in leaving the port of Amoy that same evening, I agreed to leave the next morning at daylight.
On the 5th, at 6 a. m., we went to sea, hoisting the United States flag at the mast-head. On the morning of the 6th we were in Taiwanfoo.
The authorities, notified of my coming, sent at once an officer, with the means of transportation to proceed, with the usual ceremonies, to the house prepared for me. I had just entered when the prefect called, wishing to make me the first visit. We agreed to call the next morning upon the intendant.
I received from the first civil officers in the place the most flattering welcome. There had gathered the Taotai, or intendant of circuit; the Chintai, or general commanding in chief, and his second in command—all red buttons of the second grade, with the prefect and the sub-prefects. I immediately came to the object of my visit, and it was indeed with admirable unanimity that the Chinese officials made me the most handsome promises in regard to the measures which (in your name) I had required them to take, and which had been ordered in unequivocal terms by his excellency the Viceroy. The first wing (?) of the army had left in advance of me, and prompt and entire satisfaction should be made to my demands. I then answered that, fully satisfied with their readiness to comply with the just demands of your excellency, I had made up my mind to witness in person all the details of an expedition which promised so well, and I begged them that no time might be lost in carrying it out.
The effect of my declaration was soon noticeable, first in the faces, and then in the language of the officials. This expedition, which an hour ago they announced as being so prompt to move, of necessity must suffer many delays, from the nature of the movement itself as well as of the localities through which we must pass. Of course, a portion of the army had already left, but the last corps was not ready to follow. The general in command had yet a great deal of business to attend to before he could leave Taiwanfoo; moreover, in a country where the Chinese authority had not been well established, we could not advance but with excessive caution. There would be also danger to the person of the consul, and they could but decline such a responsibility.
I came at once to the conclusion that the officials had at one time hoped they could elude the order of the Viceroy, so onerous to the purse of the intendant, and that the difficulty could be removed by means of a comedy played at a distance, and among themselves, without any troublesome witnesses, in which a few heads of savages sent to Foochow with great display would be an easy and less expensive denouement.
I therefore insisted, relieving the generals of any responsibility for my personal safety, and assuring them that I had not come to Taiwanfoo merely to hear what they had to say, but I had come to Formosa to judge for myself, without regard to fatigues, as to the measures taken to execute the orders of the Viceroy. In vain did the former attempt a diversion by inviting me to partake of a collation just made ready. I refused to adjourn the discussion even for an hour, and declared my determination to put back forthwith to Foochow. Hearing this, he tried a few words of explanation, and the general, (the ranking officer on the island,) whose determination, unusual culture, and high mind, had led him to perceive in advance of the rest that they had to decide either in the affirmative or negative, settled the difficulty by taking upon himself to say that we would leave within three days. We all gathered around the tables, and not another word was uttered as to the object which had brought me to Formosa. On my return home I received the visit of the various mandarins, and in the evening the six highest authorities of the island sent me a collective invitation to dinner at the prefect’s, where a most brilliant reception was tendered us.
As agreed, on the morning of the 10th we left Taiwanfoo, occupying the center of the column. The prefect had most liberally provided transportation for myself, Mr. Bernare, the interpreter, and one or two servants, as well as for our luggage and provisions. Finally, an escort of honor of eight men preceded me, and were to remain with me during my stay in Formosa. Leaving Taiwanfoo, we followed a very narrow road, yet practicable for chairs carried by skilled bearers. In the evening we made our first halt at Athon-Kien, (see map.) The next day, at dusk, we reached Pitou, a large town of 70,000 inhabitants. Here there was a review of the troops by General Lew. But there being no appearance of advance, I called on the general for explanation. His excuse was, that on leaving Taiwanfoo he had been furnished by the intendant with only the insufficient sum of $5,000. But he promised to make up the deficiency himself in case the other delayed much longer. He begged me to believe that he was most anxious to execute the orders of the Viceroy, and said that I should hold the intendant, and not him, responsible for any delay. Thus I had to note once more the wisdom of the Viceroy in intrusting the command of the expedition to a man of such ability, and so ambitious of distinction. I believe that he thoroughly understood that day that the orders of the Viceroy had to be executed under my eyes, and with all possible celerity. He agreed to leave, in any event, on the 14th.
On the morning of the 14th the intendant had not been heard from. We left, however, advancing towards Long Kong by a narrow road, crossing in our way four streams, on light bamboo rafts. Long Kong is a small port of difficult access, but secure for [Page 506] junks. The main products are rice and sugar cane. At this town Chinese authority practically ceases. Here, however, taxes are paid more or less regularly. We spent the night in a sugar refinery, and left at daylight for Pangliau, which we reached the same night. Pangliau extends along the shore at the summit of an arc of a circle forming a bay, and is therefore too open to be secure. The products are rice and peanuts. Women pound the rice and till the fields, while the men are entirely taken up with fishing. To the east, at a cannon shot from the sea, rise abruptly from the valley high mountains, the exclusive domain of the aborigines, who receive from the Chinese (or half-caste) population a certain share of their crops, as a royalty for the lands they have rented to them forever. There, for the first time, we notice that none leave the village without being armed.
We were still far from our destination, and at the foot of high hills occupied by savages. There were no roads, but only hunters’ paths, and these never yet traversed either by Chinese or Europeans. Nor, on account of the monsoon, was it practicable to reach the southern bay by sea, and we were therefore by force of circumstances apparently condemned to a rest the end of which no one could foresee. Fortunately, on the next day the general received 8,000 taels from the intendant, and he was most anxious to advance. I thought the circumstances favorable to hazard my advice, a thing which, until then, I had declined to do, being anxious to avoid taking any part in the management of the expedition. I intimated that it would not be impossible to cut a road over the mountains. We had to do it at intervals over a line some 40 or 50 miles long, and if there was no interference on the part of the aborigines, with whom we were not at war, the work might be accomplished in four or five days. The general seized my idea at once, perceiving how he could thus be extricated from his difficult position. Moreover, the result of opening such a way would be to establish a connection between the northern and southern parts of the island. Such communication, prompt and sure, would withdraw these aborigines from their isolation, and open the way for the establishment of Chinese rule over them. The Bootan tribes, whose territory we were to pass through, made no opposition, and the work commenced.
A fortunate diversion in our monotonous stay at Pangliau occurred in the arrival of two young Englishmen, Messrs. Pickering and Holmes. The former I had met six months before, in my visit in the United States steamship Ashuelot. Knowing him to be versed in the various dialects of the aborigines, I had begged him, in the name of humanity, to proceed to the south point with a view to rescue, if possible, the Rover’s crew, and he had promised to make the attempt. He had accompanied Admiral Bell in his expedition to the southern bay. They were now returning from the southern bay, where they had gone for the purpose of recovering the remains of the lamented Mrs. Hunt, and of rescuing eight Bashee islanders, who had been cast on the southeast shore, and who, after losing two of their number by the hands of the savages, had been reduced to slavery. They had expended all their funds furnished by the British consul, Mr. Carrol, from the moneys appropriated to this humane object by his government, ($350,) and were reduced to their last resources. Having done the best I could for the poor Bashees, I sent them to General Lew, who supplied them and gave them a guide to Takao. At my request he ordered the money advanced by Mr. Carrol to be refunded to him.
As to Mr. Pickering, who had succeeded both in the rescue of the Bashees and in recovering the remains of Mrs. Hunt, I did not hesitate to accept his kind offer to remain with me. From his knowledge of the island and people he was enabled to render me valuable service.
The road across the mountains being finished, we left Pangliau at noon on the 22d. The same day, having crossed without opposition a high range of hills, we came to Chitong-kiau, a half-caste mixed village, on the sea-shore. We went again across another range, arriving at dark at Tong-kau, where we spent the night. We had gone half of our way without meeting other difficulties than such as arose from the nature of the localities. All concurred in predicting opposition from the savages on the next day, but nothing of the kind happened, thanks probably to the care the general had taken to occupy the doubtful passes by detachments of his troops, and the same evening we safely reached Liang-kiau.
Liang-kiau is situated at the far point of the curve forming the bay of that name The port is not secure, for on the evening of our arrival we saw the wreck of four junks. There are about 1,500 inhabitants, mostly engaged in the culture of peanuts, rice, sweet potatoes, a little sugar cane, and also in fishing; some, however, trade with the aborigines.
To this place General Lew had sent in advance an officer, to prepare the population and explain the object of the expedition. Following the sea towards the south for one-half hour, Tan-tiau is reached. It is another small port, where the Chinese authority is but little respected. There the anchorage for junks is excellent, at the mouth of a small river, and there, in fact, was the rendezvous of the flotilla, carrying the heavy artillery and munitions of our small corps of operations. On the left, in the plain near the mountains, at one hour from Tan-tiau, lies Poliac, a village settled by a race of [Page 507] Hakkas from Kwang-tung province, crossed with the ahorigines. They consider themselves to be the subjects of Tooke-tok, the Chief of the 18 tribes of the aborigines occupying the southern end of the island, as well as of the Emperor of China. Poliac is the entrepot of the aborigines. There they find gunpowder and shot; there are manufactured their guns, excellent arms, much superior to those used by the Chinese soldiers.
Further yet, coming back to the sea, that is to say to the right, at five hours’ march from Tan-tiau and Poliac, and in the heart itself of the mountains, nearly at the center of the southern bay, may be found the half-caste village To-su-pong, where no Chinese ruler had ever penetrated. China ends there. The space bounded by a line going east and south from Poliac to the eastern and southern shore of the island is occupied by the Hwan tribes, 18 in all, numbering 955 warriors and 1,300 women and children, and forming a confederation under Tooke-tok of the Telassok tribe. Among them the most prominent are Bootan, Hwan, Ca-che-li, Cu-su-coot, Pat-ye-ow, Cheu-a-kiak, Duk-se-ah, Ba-ah, Bomg-hoot, Sa-bo-ou, Pe-po, Kow-lang, Ling-miano, Koo-luts.
General Lew had an excellent base of operations at Liang-kiau, having the sea on the right, and holding the new line of communication with Taiwanfoo. He had Tan-tiau in his hands; a few pieces of artillery and a small force enabled him to hold Poliac; and his army could advance by a good wide road in the direction of the point, and fall on the Koo-luts from the summit of their mountains, and drive them into the sea without possible escape. For this operation it is well that he did not require a large force of regulars. For of the 1,000 men promised, only 500 had been furnished, and these, although armed with good European rifles, were inadequate to the task before them. On my remarking this to the general, he informed me that he had enrolled 1,500 of the country militia, who had been trained in the school of adventure in their fights with the savages. I could not but fear that men called away at the time of the rice harvest would not have much ardor in their work. And there was the risk that when they came to action they might, after all, be better affected towards the savages, from whose friendship they could derive gain, than towards the Chinese authority, that could only make promises. Whatever might have been the case, it is certain that these considerations had an effect on future operations.
Before reaching Liang-kiau, and while preparing for his advance, General Lew had issued a proclamation announcing the object of his mission, viz, the destruction of the Koo-luts for the murder of the crew of the American bark Rover, thus rectifying the first proclamation, in which the Rover, in consequence of written information received from Mr. Carrol, the British consul at Takao, was qualified as a British bark. This proclamation, backed by the unprecedented military display, had deeply impressed the half-caste population, and the effect had also extended to the savages. So that the latter, doubtless in consequence of the terror inspired by the presence of the troops, and also being solicited thereto by their Chinese friends, who feared the consequences of war, sent, on the day of our arrival at Liang-kiau, a Chinese and half-caste deputation to convey the assurance of tlieir regret and deep repentance for the murder of the Rover’s crew, and to promise in their name that the like should never occur again, if the general would, only agree to make peace. For this the Chinese professed their willingness to become sureties. This disposition on their part having been announced to me by Mr. Pickering, previously to being communicated to me by Lew, I frankly said to him that I considered it quite in accordance with the generous policy of the United States to sacrifice a vain revenge (which might be hereafter used as a pretext for retaliation) to the incomparable advantage we would gain in securing against the recurrence of crimes such as we had come to punish. Still, that I did not wish to force upon them a solution which might be contrary to their instructions, and consequently I would decline lending my hand to it unless they, were quite disposed to accept it. Having received the assurance that such was the case, after many and prolonged interviews I demanded the following:
First. I must see Tooke-tok, and the chiefs of the 18 tribes, in order to receive in person their regrets and assurances for the future.
Second. The Chinese authorities must furnish me with the bond of the Chinese and half-castes from Liang-kiau to To-su-pong.
Third. They must require of the savages the refunding of the expenses incurred by Mr. Pickering in recovering the body of Mrs. Hunt, and new efforts were to be made towards recovering any effects of Captain Hunt in the hands of the savages.
Fourth. A fortified observatory must be erected at the southern bay, as a guarantee of imperial protection at a place where it has hitherto been wanting.
We agreed to act on this basis, and the delegates of the savages undertook to arrange the contemplated interview at Poliac within three days. Yet the day preceding the proposed interview with the chiefs, before taking the responsibility of promising to forgive and forget, I thought it prudent to obtain in writing from the Viceroy’s agents the acquiescence they had so willingly given verbally, and I wrote them a note to that effect, asking for a speedy reply. Ill-served, I doubt not, by my interpreter, who had agreed to hand the letter to the generals and explain it, I saw the day passing away, [Page 508] but no answer. Yet Tooke-tok, the 18 chiefs, and a numerous escort had arrived the same evening at Poliac, and sent me word that I was expected on the morrow. On the other hand, the delay of the generals in answering my note caused me to suspect some evil design on their part, and made it my duty to be all the more cautious before passing my word to Tooke-tok. I therefore notified them that I would not meet Tooke-tok before receiving their answer, and such delay would probably ruin everything. It was in vain; they gave me many specious excuses, but no answer.
The next morning I requested Mr. Pickering to see Tooke-tok and explain to him why I could not come. He found him in Poliac, attended by 600 warriors. Yet the desired answer from the generals had not been received, and, the day advancing, Tooke-tok, unable to find proper quarters at Poliac, or perhaps suspecting treachery on the part of the Chinese, or else tired of waiting, concluded to leave. General Lew, who by that time had come to the conclusion to answer my note, was visibly troubled at the disappearance of Tooke-tok, and begged of me to let him arrange another interview with the chief. I consented, and three days afterwards was informed that Tooke-tok would meet us at the Volcano, some four miles from the east coast of the island, i. e., in the midst of savage territory. We left on the morning of the 10th of October, without other escort than Mr. Bernare, Mr. Pickering, three interpreters, and one guide, and reached our destination at noon. I found Tooke-tok surrounded by a number of chiefs, and some 200 savages of both sexes. We sat on the ground without ceremony, in the center of the group. We were unarmed—they had their guns between their knees. All knew what had prevented me from meeting them before, so without preamble I began by asking what could have led them to murder our countrymen. Tooke-tok hastened to reply that, a long time ago, white people had all but exterminated the Koolut tribe, leaving only three who survived to hand down to their posterity the desire for revenge. Having no ships to pursue foreigners, they had taken their revenge as best they could. I observed that in this way many innocent victims must have been killed. “I know it,” said he, “and am an enemy to the practice, and therefore sought to join you at Poliac to express my regrets.” I then asked him what he intended doing in the future. His answer was, “if you come to make war, we shall resist you, of course, and I cannot answer for the consequences; if, on the contrary, you desire peace, it shall be so forever.” I told him I had come as a friend, and on hearing it he put his gun aside.
I added that we were not unwilling to forget the past, but that in the future, far from murdering the unfortunate castaways, he should promise to care for them and hand them over to the Chinese of Liang-kiau. He promised to do so. I added that in case a crew was sent ashore for water, or anything else, they should not be molested. This point he agreed to, and we settled upon a red flag (at the chief’s request) as a sign through which ships would make known to him or his tribes a desire to land a party for friendly purposes, under the contract we had entered into that day.
I then hazarded the question of the fort. I wished it to be erected at the center of the bay, where the unfortunate Lieutenant McKenzie met his fate. But Tooke-tok refused; it would bring misfortune on his tribe. “Every one in his own place,” said he; “if you place Chinese in our midst their bad faith will cause our people to rise in anger. Build your fort among the half-castes; they will not object to it, and it will satisfy us.” I assented to his request, when, rising, he addressed me, saying, “We have said enough; let us depart, and not spoil such a friendly interview by words that would make us enemies.” All my efforts to retain him failed. The interview lasted three-fourths of an hour.
Tooke-tok is a man of 50; his address is easy, and his language most harmonious; his physiognomy is sympathetic, showing great strength of mind and indomitable energy; he is of a sanguine temperament, not of a high stature—even small—but square-shouldered and well built; his hair, which is gray, is shaved on the fore, part of the head, in Chinese fashion, and he wears a small queue 12 or 15 inches long. But his costume is peculiar to his race, and distinct in all respects from the Chinese.
The same day, instead of returning to Liang-kiau, we went to the left, across the territory of the savages and of the Ling-hwan, directing our steps to the southwest part of the island, called To-su-pong, where I decided to locate the fort. This location is on a promontory, one mile distant from a small half-caste village called To-su-pong. From it can be seen every part of the bay; we could distinctly see the roads followed by the expedition of Admiral Bell, and boldly projecting was the fatal rock—a gloomy mass of trachyte—near which fell McKenzie. Full of thought about this painful spot, we set out to return to Liang-kiau, to hurry on the erection of the fort and the writing of the bond to be given by the Chinese and half-caste population.
The establishment of a fort had often been the object of a serious controversy between General Lew and myself; not that he would systematically oppose it; he had, on the contrary, acknowledged its advantages to the Chinese; but because of an obscure point in the Viceroy’s instructions he did not feel authorized to erect it before he conferred with the Foochow or Peking authorities. I could scarcely subordinate my departure to such delay, and yet I wanted the fort. I wanted it because of its asserting the [Page 509] Chinese authority where it had been so long denied, for I considered that it would command respect from the Koo-luts, in case they happened to lose sight of their promises; finally, and chiefly, because it would become a sure refuge for the too numerous victims of these stormy seas. In short, I insisted, and we agreed at last, that a temporary fort should be erected at a point selected by me, and that in it they would place two guns, a small force of regulars, and 100 militia. This provisional arrangement was to be converted into a permanent one as soon as the more explicit orders, that I was asked to solicit, should have reached Taiwanfoo. I declared myself satisfied; for I did not imagine that the Viceroy would break his word with me; and should he, I could then appeal with confidence to the instructions of your excellency.
I must here render full justice to the loyalty of the general. In two days he had erected a circular inclosure, formed of trunks of palm trees and sand-bags, which I visited in company with the generals. I did not see exactly 100 men in the fort, but I concluded to shut my eyes to this deficiency; as a compensation, doubtless, there were three guns, instead of only two, as promised. Over it the Chinese flag waves.
We were about coming to the conclusion. The general had handed me a spy-glass and nautical instruments belonging to the Rover. I had the body of Mrs. Hunt. Mr. Pickering had left to bear to Tooke-tok a red flag I sent him. I had only to consign to a regular writing with the Chinese authorities the results of the expedition. These documents established a joint responsibility in this humane duty between the savages and the Chinese from Liang-kiau bay to the fort of To-su-pong. It is the morale of the whole expedition.
This brings us down to the 15th of October. I then thought of returning. I did not then know to how many annoyances (not to say humiliations) I should be subjected during this dosing part of my mission. The steamship Volunteer, from the time I left with the two generals, had gone to Takao. Later, when I saw that we were really on our way to the south, I requested (by letter) the officer commanding to proceed to Liang-kiau. The answer was that the Viceroy had ordered the steamer to remain at Takao; but on the 11th of October I received a dispatch to the effect that he had waited long enough, and that I must fix the date of my return to Amoy. I did not answer the communication, but on the morning of the 16th I sent my interpreter to Takao to say to him that, my mission in Formosa having come to a close, I wished him to proceed to Tan-tiau and save me, after a hard trip of nearly two months, the fatigue of a long journey to Takao; and I said that I would take upon myself all the responsibility.
I remained four days at To-su-pong after the withdrawal of the Chinese troops. On the 20th, the British gunboat Banterer arrived, on her way back to Amoy from the Bashee islands. I met her commanding officer and the British consul at Takao on the beach. At their request, I furnished them with the main points of my mission, and its results. I refused their kind offer of a passage to Takao, and returned to Liang-kiau. There I found Mr. Pickering, just returned from a visit to Tooke-tok, from whom he had received a most cordial reception. The Chinese had not been so fortunate. They had sent a deputation to him to secure for their countrymen the protection promised to foreigners. The chief answered that he had done nothing, and would do nothing, with the Chinese officials. The deputies insisted, stating that the chief was simply desired to treat of matters of mutual importance. Said Tooke-tok, “If it is simply to talk, I can send my daughters,” and at once he begged Mr. Pickering to escort them to Liangkiau, begging him to see them safe back to their friends at Poliac. Those two girls appeared without fear before the Chinese officers. Refusing to kneel before them, they boldly said that their father had treated with the foreigners because he respected their courage. He had seen them fearlessly ascending the mountains under fire, (alluding to the bold charge under Lieutenant McKenzie;) they had met him on his own territory to treat of peace, and their intentions were clear; but it was different with the Chinese officers, and he desired to have nothing to do with them. Having delivered this message, they refused to say more, and returned to Poliac with Mr. Pickering. Trifling as it may seem, this circumstance, together with the intrigues of the interpreter, had a great deal to do with General Lew’s change of manner towards us. We had given him no cause whatever for irritation.
On the morning of the 21st we made our parting visit to the generals, which they returned the next day. In the afternoon we received a note from the interpreter, stating that he had failed to induce the officer to bring the Volunteer to Liang-kiau, and that we must be at Takao on the 25th, the day fixed for his departure.
We could not well leave the same evening by land, the general having but two chairs for us. We concluded to go by sea in a junk offered us by him. The wind was fair, yet we made no progress, as we kept continually tacking about, and in the morning we returned to Tan-tiau. It was with great difficulty that we could get even two chairs, so that there was no conveyance for Mr. Pickering and our servants. Then, as we could not return with the army, we needed an escort. Mr. Bernare, who saw Lew on this occasion, was instructed to accept without discussion any transportation that might be offered. But when he heard that the military escort was refused, he observed to the [Page 510] general that I was suffering from an old wound in the eye, and could not but be troubled by these dispositions, so different from my expectations. His answer was, he regretted it, but it was all he could do. Having directed Mr. Pickering to proceed on foot and detain the Volunteer until our arrival, I started with the generals the next day. We advanced rapidly, and at noon were at Long-kong, where we received no hospitality. At 3 p. m. we were at Chi-tong-kian, and could have reached Pangliau the same evening. Suddenly our coolies halted, leaving us in the middle of the street, and disappeared. Having waited an hour, we were informed by one of our servants that the general intended to stay there that night. I sent Mr. Bernare to him, who was told that the coolies were tired, and that he could not force them to go on. In vain did Mr. Bernare observe that the coolies will go on if the Chinese authorities only permit them to do so. We were at their mercy.
Fortunately we found a small junk loaded with wood. I hired it, paying partly in advance. But we had to wait an hour while she was unloading. While this was going on, we noticed an officer in disguise ordering the owner of the junk not to take us. The man hesitated. But having received from me the promise of protection, he concluded to take us on. The next day, at 11 a. m., we were at Long-kong, and the wind having changed, we went ashore and made our way on foot to Takao, where we arrived in the middle of the night.
On the 25th, as we had been notified, we were on board of the Volunteer. But now that we were on board the commander refused to leave, and I had to give him a peremptory order to start the next morning. During the day Mr. Carrol sent me a note, stating that he was expecting important dispatches from Taiwanfoo, and had requested the Volunteer to be delayed one day, believing that I would have no objection. I called upon him to say that I was, to my great regret, compelled to leave at once.
Having left at last with a favorable wind, suddenly, without a word of warning, we put back to Taiwanfoo. What could I say or do, but submit? The next morning the wind had fallen, the sea was as calm as a lake, yet we remained at anchor. At length we set out, but only in a short time to put in at the Pescadores. In short, having left Takoa on the morning of the 26th, we reached Amoy at 5 p. m. of the 30th, Two months before we had made the trip in 18 hours!
What am I to see in all this? Chinese intrigue—English jealousy? I do not know whether it is worth while to inquire. As for myself, it all seems as nothing before the spectacle of our government, guided by the true policy initiated by your excellency, compelling the Chinese authorities, through the force of persuasion alone, to do their duty in an unmistakable manner, and calling all civilized nations to partake of the benefit of these effects.
Before closing this I beg to be allowed to mention here the names of the two gentlemen of good social standing, who, without any possible hope of reward, have not hesitated to freely lend me their aid in the accomplishment of a mission which has proved laborious to me, while for them it has been full of danger and privation. They are Mr. Joseph Bernare, of Canton, and Mr. Pickering, of Taiwanfoo. Mr. Pickering was by the side of Lieutenant McKenzie when shot by the savages on the 7th of June last.
I have the honor to be, sir, very truly, your obedient servant,
His Excellency Anson Burlingame, United States Minister at Peking.