No. 138.
Mr. Williams to Mr. Fish.

No. 17.]

Sir: I have the honor to send you a series of papers connected with the purchase of the mission premises of the American Southern Presbyterian Mission at Hang-chow, by the gentry of that city, and lam sure that their perusal will gratify you as indicating a very friendly state of feeling toward the missionaries. They deserve to be read, too, in connection with the in closures in Mr. Low’s dispatch of October 23, 1872, (No. 202,) if only to learn the contrast in the sentiments of the people and their rulers; and this friendliness is likely to be promoted and strengthened by their co-operation with our countrymen in making the exchange.

The gentry who have paid for the mission property are probably remunerated in the value of the premises now obtained, but the way in which these literati have gone about the accomplishment of their object and the regard which they have shown to the rights of foreigners are both unusual, and give some importance to this transaction. I hope the example will not be lost as a precedent in future similar negotiations, but it can now be taken as an encouraging sign of the improved intercourse between the two parties in that city.

Hang-chow is one of the finest cities in China for situation, and was its capital for one hundred and fifty years, (A. D. 1129–1280.) So far as is known, this hill was then occupied chiefly by temples and other similar public buildings, and not by imperial palaces. It was always a fcpot for the resort of the people. In 1862, when the Taiping rebels destroyed the city, the temples and other edifices were all leveled on this hill, and have not yet been rebuilt, though the city is rapidly regaining its prosperity by the return of the inhabitants and restoration of the government offices.

In a visit to it in 1859, in the days of its affluence, I observed that the top of this hill was open and used by the citizens for their diversions, and that the temple grounds were of large extent. In very few Chinese cities can such a dominating spot, according to the tenets of the geomancers, be found; and if its good luck was supposed to be interfered with, no pains would be spared to remove the irritating cause. As intimated by Mr. Lord, it was probably the height, the singularity, and the conspicuousness of the mission-houses which made them obnoxious to the notions of the gentry, more than their mere existence.

I think it may safely be inferred that the adjustment of the difficulty in 1872 growing out of this cause, so different from the sad result of a similar popular ill-feeling at Tien-tsin in 1870, may in part be ascribed to the good name which the Protestant missionaries have obtained for themselves during their seven years’ residence there. Nearly all of the eight missionaries living in Hang-chow have families, and they invite the people into their chapels, schools, and hospitals, mix with them daily, and are soon well known, so that when ugly rumors arise among the ignorant, this publicity has the effect of neutralizing them, and furnishes to the well-disposed arguments to induce their countrymen to examine for themselves. The present friendly arrangement, under the careful management of Mr. Lord, will not diminish this favorable opinion. The Chinese are the slaves of the mysterious cabala of the geomancers, [Page 233] and yet it is impossible to get a satisfactory explanation of the laws which govern it, for it is really too crude and fanciful to bear examination.

I send you all the important documents connected with the exchange of premises, (inclosure,) and copy of my reply, (inclosure 2;) and would respectfully, suggest that your opinion of Mr. Lord’s conduct in the transaction may be officially made known to him.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 17.]

Mr. Lord to Mr. Williams.

Sir: I have the honor to submit herewith, for your information and approval or otherwise, an account of a transaction recently concluded between myself and the local authorities of Hang-chow, our provincial capital.

You are probably aware that soon after the ratification of the treaties betwixt China and England, France, Russia, and the United States, a number of missionaries connected with different organizations in England and the United States located themselves in this city. As at that time it was generally supposed that the right for missionaries to reside in the interior was guaranteed by the treaties, the missionaries arranged for a permanent residence in that city. They bought or rented lands, built houses and chapels, established schools and hospitals, and arranged generally for extended and permanent work. The people appeared friendly, and the officials manifested no hostility. The city had been greatly desolated during its occupation by the rebels and the imperial soldiery; so that unoccupied lands were plentiful, and for a time not very difficult to be obtained.

The city of Hang-chow lies mostly on the plain; but there are mountains surrounding it on the west. A spur of one of the adjacent hills extends within the limits of the city wall, to the distance of half a mile or more, and is elevated in its highest parts several hundred feet. This hill, as I suppose hills in Chinese cities usually are, seems to be regarded with some degree of veneration. At least its connection with fung-shuy is supposed to be of great importance. Moreover, it is a kind of park or common, much resorted to by the people, especially by visitors during the provincial examinations and religious festivals. The views from this hill are pleasant; and a residence on it would be more quiet, and one would naturally suppose more healthful, than on the plain.

Influenced probably by considerations of this kind, the Reverend Mr. Inslee, at that time representative of the Southern Presbyterian Mission, sought and obtained ground situated on the northern slope of the hill on which to erect mission-buildings. Mr. Inslee’s successors retained this situation, and enlarged and increased the mission-buildings. The situation of these buildings is nearly in front of, and only a short distance removed from, the office of the Fan-tai, or provincial treasurer, though at the time this circumstance was not noticed, or, if noticed, was not thought to be of any consequence. Not long, however, after these buildings were erected, there were, it is said, several cases of sickness and death in this officer’s family. The idea was started, and the idea was confirmed by the government, that the fung-shuy had been disturbed by the position and form of these houses, and that these calamities had come upon him in consequence. The matter seems to have been discussed among the officials and their friends, and no doubt a good deal of feeling existed in regard to it The first expression of this feeling observed by the missionaries was in the spring of last year, in the appearance of a placard denouncing foreigners and threatening all natives with punishment who should rent or sell any more places to them. A copy of this placard was sent to me, and I forwarded it with a translation to the legation. I also thought it of sufficient importance to call to it the attention of the lieutenant-governor, and urge him to repress such hostile and inflammatory proceedings. His reply was friendly, and there was no more trouble until the autumn, when suddenly warrants were issued for the arrest of all persons known to have sold or leased houses or lands to foreigners. The matter was of course at once brought to the notice of the British consul and myself, and our action in regard to it you are already acquainted with. After this storm passed, there was a calm for several months; indeed, I heard no more of the matter until the latter part of the past summer. I then had some intimation, not through the missionaries, that an effort would be made to secure, through friendly negotiation, the removal of the mission-buildings on the hill, which had really been the cause of all the previous difficulty.

[Page 234]

A week or two later I was waited on by a deputation from the gentry of Hang-chow, accompanied and introduced by a native gentleman residing at Ningpo, who presented to me a petition (inclosure No. 1) to the effect that the mission-houses on the hill in Hang-chow were obnoxious; and that if the missionaries would consent to remove to some other place they would cause a suitable place to be procured for them, and payment to be made them to cover their expenses.

The further history of this transaction I think you will best learn from the inclosed correspondence. I will here add only one or two particulars, which the correspondence does not contain.

On my arrival in Hang-chow I called on the principal officials, namely, the lieutenant-governor, provincial treasurer, and prefect, all of whom promptly returned my calls. They all seemed well acquainted with my business there. They talked about it freely, and thanked me with apparent sincerity for the trouble I was taking in the matter. They also spoke kindly and gratefully of the missionaries, who had been willing to entertain their proposition, and who were ready to accede to their request, at the expense of their own personal inconvenience.

You will observe that the only reason assigned in the accompanying petition and dispatch of the Chinese for the removal of these buildings is that which regards fung-shuy. I may add that no other reason was mentioned in my conversation with them. I have the impression, however, that, in point of fact, this was not the only, and perhaps the stronger, reason. The idea of having foreigners located on the hill at all, or where they would be particularly conspicuous to officials and scholars continually visiting the hill, was to them disagreeable. While foreigners were thus in the way, the local authorities were liable to be criticised and censured for it. And it is quite possible, also, that they had some apprehensions that in time the matter might lead to some popular disturbance.

In conclusion, I may remark that in the conduct of this affair I have spared neither time nor effort to get it arranged, and arranged in such a way as would be just and satisfactory to all concerned. And so far I have every reason to believe that both parties are satisfied, both with the arrangement made and with my efforts in effecting it. The assurance of this affords me satisfaction, and this satisfaction I accept as my chief reward.

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

United States Consul.

S. Wells Williams, LL.D.,
&c., &c., &c., Peking.

[Inclosure 1 in 1 in No. 17.]

Petition addressed to Mr. Lord, United States Consul, Ningpo.

(Received August 5, 1873.)

The undersigned, Wang Ju-lin, Yang Hung-quen, Liu Shih, Hwang Fuh-mou, Luh Yuen-ting, Yang Fu, Chow Kwang-kw’él, and Sun I-shin, of the gentry of Hang-chow, present the following petition:

In consequence of the fung-shuy (or prosperous influences) of this place having been disturbed, and the minds of the people disquieted, your petitioners unite in the earnest request that you will of your clemency permit, and use your influence to effect, the change which will bring about the needed harmony.

Your petitioners regard the hill in Hang-chow, called Kwan-mi, as dominating the prosperous influences of the whole city. Hitherto, although the people have built houses on it, they have been low and small, and occasioned no obstruction to the lookout of the spot. Of late years, persons of the place sold ground to some missionaries of your country on which to erect mission-buildings; and we are well aware that to do so, and propagate religion, is permitted by treaty and cannot be prevented either by officers or people.

Now, the doctrines of geomancy, although not esteemed in the faith of your country, are, in the estimation of the people of China, of the highest value and consequence. Since these buildings were erected many untoward things have occurred among the people, owing, it is generally said, to them; which, as they stand exactly opposite to the great hall of the provincial treasurer’s office, injure and destroy its aspect. Thus the minds of the people have been and continue to be disturbed in a very great degree.

Now, it seems to your petitioners that as the missionaries of your country are anxious to propagate religion they must also be anxious to pacify the people, for when people’s minds are quiet religion can be diffused without limit or bounds. Wherefore we, your petitioners, unitedly pray that you will regard their request, and aid them in effecting the desired removal.

[Page 235]

There being much unoccupied land in Hang-chow, your petitioners are willing to procure at their own expense a place such as will be agreeable to the missionaries. They will also, for the expenses necessary to be incurred in rebuilding, pay them the full price of their present buildings.

You, Mr. Consul, have resided long in Ningpo, and are thoroughly acquainted with the customs of the people; your conduct has ever been influenced by a regard for them, and they hold you in grateful remembrance. We therefore intreat you to request the missionaries to consent to exchange their location, in order that the prosperous influences there may be preserved, and the harmonies of the spot carried out. For doing this, our gratitude will truly be boundless.

A respectful petition,

[Inclosure 2 in 1 in No. 17.]

Mr. Lord to the missionaries Houston and Helm.

Dear Sirs: You are aware, I suppose, that the movement in your city last year directed against natives who had transferred, or aided in transferring, houses or lands to foreigners, was at the time supposed to have originated in a particular dislike that some of the officials, and perhaps gentry, had to your position and houses on the hill. It is true that this fact was not mentioned to me and my colleague in the discussions that we had with the officers at that time. Still, we knew well enough that the difficulty had originated there.

The movement referred to was unreasonable and anarchical; for which reason, perhaps, we were the better able to get it arrested; the magistrates, themselves, no doubt becoming alarmed when called to face the storm they were raising. After our protests no further arrests were made, and the persons already arrested were soon released; moreover, the proclamation deemed necessary to quiet the minds of the people was issued in accordance with our request. From that time to the present, so far as I know, there has been no action on the part of the officers or people calculated to disturb foreigners.

However, I have suspected that neither the officers nor people were, or would be, satisfied to have your houses remain where they are, and recently this suspicion has been confirmed by a petition presented to me asking for their removal. I will briefly state the history (so far as it is known to me) and import of this petition, before expressing any opinion in regard to the attention which it should receive.

About a month ago, a native gentleman of this place, of high standing and influence, called on me and stated that the gentry of Hang-chow had consulted with him in regard to the mission-houses on the hill in that place, and the possibility of getting them removed. He did not state to me what advice, if any, he had given to the gentry of Hang-chow. But he said that they had decided to bring the matter before me; they would unite in a petition, and they would be glad to present their petition respectfully through a deputation representing their body, if I would permit them. I replied, of course, that if they had any grievance in regard to the matter referred to, which they wished to present to me, they had a right to present it, and it was my duty to give it the consideration it might deserve. As for the deputation, this did not appear to me a matter of much importance; still, if they chose to send one. I had no objection; it might supplement their petition, and explain more fully what they wanted.

About a week ago this deputation, consisting of three gentlemen from Hang-chow, and the gentlemen above mentioned, belonging to Ningpo, waited on me, and presented their petition. The petition contained the names of the three gentlemen present from Hang-chow, and five others, who, it was said, would also have been present but for the difficulty of leaving home. Both the petition and the statements of the deputation convinced me that the matter was by them considered of very great importance.

It was stated that the houses occupied by your mission on the hill were but a short distance from, and over against one or two of, the principal official residences; in consequence of which, according to their notions, the fung-shuy was disturbed, and their residences were rendered liable to the visitation of evil influences. It was said, too, that Hang-chow was the provincial capital, and also the residence of a large number of officers and scholars, by whom the doctrine of fung-shuy was universally and sincerely believed, and by whom the regulations in regard to it were considered to be of very great importance. Now these regulations, it was said, were violated by these houses being where they are. The officers and people, therefore, were anxious to get them removed. But, in asking to have them removed, they were willing to indemnify their owners for any loss that they might sustain. They would see that they were provided [Page 236] with a suitable place elsewhere, and be enabled to erect (or they would erect for them if they preferred) buildings as good as those that they now have. In short, they would leave me to decide what was just and reasonable in the matter of compensation. This is the history and import of the matter as it has come before me.

Now, in presenting it for your consideration, I will call your attention to a few points which I think you should keep in view.

In the first place, it is a settled question, so far as the Government of the United States is concerned, that missionaries have no treaty-right to reside in China elsewhere than at the open ports. This matter has to some extent been misunderstood. But it is known now that the clause in the French treaty, from which it was supposed the right of missionaries to reside in the interior was derived, does not exist in the French text, which alone, in cases of discrepancy, is to be regarded as authoritative. Moreover, irrespective of the French treaty or any other, our Government has decided that it is impolitic to claim from the Chinese government rights for missionaries not claimed for other citizens. I mention this fact as one important to be borne in mind in settling difficulties of this kind. The Chinese are dissatisfied with your present location on the hill, and they ask you to exchange it for one somewhere else. You may have thought, and so you may very naturally say, “We are here by right; why, then, are we asked to remove?” But just here is the mistake. “Your right,” replies our Government, “to reside on the hill, or in Hang-chow, at all, is only such as the Chinese give you. We are willing and pleased to have you reside there, if you can do so with their consent.” Now, it seems hardly necessary for me to add, that in order to obtain and secure this consent it may be necessary at times to concede something to their prejudices. To reside on the plain with their consent and good will I should judge to be far better policy than to insist on remaining on the hill without them.
I remark, in the second place, that, however little or much the ruling classes at Hang-chow knew or cared about your position on the hill at first, there can be no doubt but that it has now become among them a matter of notoriety and concern. The present movement is proof enough of this. I think that all classes of Chinese in Hang-chow are peaceably disposed toward foreigners; but they are, of course, capable of being irritated, and, with this standing cause of irritation among them, it would be no strange thing if in time it led to the disturbance of the peace you now enjoy, or even to acts of wrong and outrage. Indeed, my opinion is that the feeling on this subject is already too deep and wide-spread to be safely ignored.
—The present method adopted by the Chinese to get rid of what is to them a grievance seems to be just, and even generous. It admits that your being where you are is no fault of yours. It is a mistake, (as they look at it,) harmless perhaps to you, but disastrous to them. They courteously ask you to change your location, and they offer to pay your expenses in doing so.
By your acceding to their proposition, I think I can secure to you a location that will in most respects, if not in all, be as eligible as that which you now have; and, in addition to this, succeed in placing you and all the missionaries in Hang-chow on a safer and better footing. In this way the conflict that commenced a year ago will be well ended, and the Chinese will have had at least one proof that the better way to redress their grievances against foreigners is not by violence and wrong, but by law and order; and if this lesson is learned by them to any extent, you cannot fail to see how great a boon it must be to us all.
In conclusion, I have to say that I am strongly of the opinion that you ought to accede to the request that the Chinese have made. I think it will be for your own interest, and for the interest of your fellow-missionaries. And I suppose I hardly need say that, if you do accede to their request, I will use my best endeavors to secure you every interest and convenience that may seem just and practicable.

The Chinese are anxious to have the matter decided as soon as possible; so I trust you will let me hear from you on the subject at your earliest convenience.

I am, sirs, your obedient servant,

    United States Consul.
  • Rev. M. Hale Houston,
  • Rev. B. Helm,
    Missionaries of the Southern Presbyterian Board of Missions, Hang-chow.
[Inclosure 3 in 1 in. No. 17.]

Rev. B. Helm to Mr. Lord.

Respected and dear Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt on yesterday (21st) of your recent communication to Mr. Houston and myself, with regard to a [Page 237] petition presented by some gentlemen of Hang-chow, who desired through you to secure the removal of the foreign houses occupied by the Southern Presbyterian Mission on the hill known as the Kwan-me hill.

The above-mentioned letter I have forwarded to my colleagues, and our mission will act on the matter and return you an answer as soon as possible. In the meantime, permit me to express to you individually my thanks for your kind and full letter.

If the gentlemen who waited on you are really authorized to act for the citizens of this city, then my own opinion is that, owing to their courteous manner of relieving themselves of what they consider to be a grievance, it becomes our duty as Christians and citizens to comply, notwithstanding the great inconvenience and injury we must necessarily experience in the change proposed. If left to our own free will, we would not for any sum of money again spend our time in brick and mortar instead of preaching Christ crucified to perishing souls. Money cannot compensate this; but duty may demand it. Secondly, the healthiness and comfort of our present place would by no means be relinquished merely for money, did not some higher motive enter. Both of these considerations ought to be borne in mind when any estimate of our loss is considered.

Building now costs (I am safe, I think, in saying) one-fourth to one-third more than when we built. Stone and tiles and wood and brick are all selling much in advance. For example, tiles sold for $18 per ten thousand are now $23.

I should feel it necessary, in entering into any agreement of so much importance and delicacy, that you should give it official sanction on the one side, while in some way it should receive the same on the native side, that there might be confidence; and in case of perfidy, redress might be obtained.

The native gentlemen ought to secure us a lot in a part of the city both healthy and suitable for our work, else as missionaries we could not occupy it; and we should keep possession of our present premises till we had houses in the new ones suitable to move into, when they could do as seemeth them best with the present buildings. Your official sanction should be a guarantee to them of good faith on our part.

You will excuse me for making these suggestions now, while they occur to me. They may assist you in any conference with the native gentlemen. I have no authority to speak for our mission as a body, but feel sure it will accede to your request, so courteous and just under the circumstances. If further negotiations are proceeded with, I suppose it would be necessary to ask you to continue to act for us, or at least counsel with us, and give your sanction to what may be done. Our mission can appoint a committee to confer with you, and settle the terms as well as select the site, if it accedes to the request. It would be useless to prove that, according to their own belief, one of our houses is not in front, and could not interfere with the fung-shuy.

If the body of the people and officials are determined on a change, we ought to yield. And the petition seems sent in, and a speedy answer required, so as to have the opportunity during the examinations of abating a nuisance anyhow, should we refuse. Mr. Houston is in Chefoo and Mr. Du Bose in Shanghai. Your letter has been forwarded, and an answer will be returned as soon as possible. In the meantime I have the honor to remain, respectfully, yours,


E. C. Lord, Esq.,
United States Consul, Ningpo.

P. S.—Might I request the names of the parties who visited you? We here could readily tell whether they are representative men, or of a family who gave Mr. Jenkins trouble, and whose head was an official at Tien-Tsin at the time of the massacre. I judge the case is as they represent it, but it would be a satisfaction to us to be sure it is so in acting.

Respectfully, yours,

B. H.
[Inclosure 4 in 1 in No. 17.]

Rev. M. H. Houston to Mr. Lord.

Dear Sir: On my return here to-day, from Chefoo, my colleague, Mr. Helm, and I consulted together about the proposition made by certain of the Chinese in this city, through you, which was communicated to us in your favor of August 15, viz, that the property now held by the Southern Presbyterian Mission on the hill in this city be given up in exchange for property in another part of the city. Your letter had been forwarded to me in Chefoo by Mr. Helm, and on my arrival here to-day he read me his reply, and also your second letter of August 26. I have only to say that the views expressed by Mr. Helm in regard to the matter are my own, and while I feel, [Page 238] as a missionary, that it is a grievous thing to be turned aside from our high and distinctive work to engage in the task of laying out land and building houses, I do not doubt that it is our duty to accept the proposition which has been made, and I trust we shall find that any sacrifice we may now make will not be without its reward.

Mr. Helm and I decided, on consultation, that I should write to you, definitely accepting on the part of our mission the offer for an exchange of property; provided, of course, that the offer made by the Chinese should prove bona-fide, and the terms such as would be judged fair and equitable. Having arrived at this decision, we desire, for reasons that will no doubt readily occur to you, that the arrangement which is proposed should be carried out at as early a day as practicable. And as it may serve to expedite matters to let you know at once what terms would seem to us just in the matter, Mr. Helm and I agreed that we should submit to you the following points as constituting basis for what would be to us a satisfactory arrangement.

They are, in the main, only two: 1. That a piece of land of equal extent with our present property, (seven mow, or about one and one-sixth acres,) situated in a locality that is healthy and suitable for carrying on mission-work, should be made over to our mission by a clear title, officially sanctioned. We would prefer, if the Chinese are willing, to make our own selection among the unoccupied lands that are in the plain; the selection to be approved by them. Of course, any expense incurred in making over the land to us or in the conduct of any part of these negotiations should be borne by the Chinese. 2. That the sum of $10,500 (Mexican) should be given us, to be used in inclosing this land and erecting on it buildings for the mission. It is evident that it would not do for us to leave the erection of these buildings to the Chinese. They are without experience in putting up foreign buildings; and apart from this, the buildings we would wish on the new land would be of a different plan from those we now have. Our present buildings were planned to conform to the narrow plateaux on which they are built, and, of course, the plan would not be the best for a broad and level site. We would expect to be left to plan and build for ourselves. As to the sum mentioned, I may say that Mr. Helm and I made a careful examination to-day of the accounts of the mission, to ascertain the amount that has been actually expended by our mission on the property here. The whole amount expended, as closely as we can estimate, is $10,162, including the cost of the land. The land we now have is more valuable than any we can obtain in exchange, both on account of its favorable situation and also on account of the expensive stone revetments which support the different plateaux. In addition to this the price of building-material, as Mr. Helm informed you, has risen very considerably since our houses were built. And when we consider these circumstances, and also the fact that in the estimate of expenditure we have not reckoned the time and labor spent by Mr. Helm and myself in improving our present property, not to mention the time and labor we must give in carrying out the proposed arrangement, we feel sure that the sum mentioned ($10,500) is the very least we ought to ask in compensation for the property we are called on to give up. Were it merely a question of pecuniary interest, we could not think of accepting such an exchange; but as other considerations indicate plainly the duty of acceding to the propositions of the Chinese, we desire that our negotiations may be conducted with them in all points so as to show them that we aim to be liberal and fair. I might mention that our dwelling-house here, which is set down in the estimate of expenditure at $3,000, was estimated by Mr. Brown, an architect of Shanghai, who visited Hang-chow last year, to be worth $5,000. The Chinese always express surprise when we tell them the actual cost of this house. In conclusion, I would say that Mr. Helm and I desire very much that you will favor us with your presence here when the negotiations take place. And I need not add that, when you come, Mrs. Houston and I will expect the pleasure of entertaining you in our house.

Begging leave to express my appreciation of the very kind spirit you have evinced toward us in this matter, I remain, with much respect, your obedient servant,


E. C. Lord, Esq.,
United States Consul, Ningpo.

[Inclosure 5 in 1 in No. 17.]

Mr. Lord to Rev. M. H. Houston.

Sir: Your communication, dated the 9th instant, has reached me only to-day; though a letter from your colleague, written a day later, reached me two days ago.

I am glad to learn that the view taken of the matter in question, by yourself and colleagues, so entirely agrees with my own. If the Chinese are sincere and earnest in [Page 239] their proceedings, as I think they are, I see no insurmountable obstacle in the way of its accomplishment.

With you, I should like to have the matter arranged as soon as possible. But at this time the examinations are commencing, and during this period the officials at Hang-chow will necessarily be much occupied. So I am at present inclined to wait until the hurry of these is over. Then, should I in the mean time have received sufficient guarantee that my visit at Hang-chow would be likely to be attended with success, I shall endeavor to lose no time in coming up. At present I suppose I have all the guarantee that is absolutely needed; but I wish the matter to be more openly official. And more time will be needed for this.

I have given attention to the statement you have made regarding the kind and amount of indemnity needed. I have, I need hardly say, entire confidence in your wish to deal fairly in the matter, and it will be my aim to secure to you, so far as I am able, everything that shall appear to me just and reasonable. It is not unlikely, however, that I may have some difficulty in accomplishing all that you, or even I, could wish.

That I may have every means to enable me to form an intelligent judgment myself, and also of explaining this judgment, if needs be, to the Chinese, and to our minister at Peking, I shall be glad if you will furnish me with a detailed account of your present grounds, size, original cost, the number and kind of buildings you have put on them, their original cost, the amount you have expended in repairs, the condition the grounds and buildings are now in, the probable difference in the cost of building now and at the time your buildings were erected, &c., &c. In fact, anything relating to past cost and the present value of the premises you now occupy will be acceptable and useful. If anything should occur to change my plan as to the time of my coming up, I will give you the earliest possible notice of it. Very many thanks for your kind offer-of hospitality. I should cheerfully avail myself of it unless it should, for reasons of policy, seem desirable that I should stop elsewhere. In that case, my plan is to make my headquarters at the “Keyer House.” As I should have much to do with the Chinese, and perhaps with the officials, it might be better for me to be by myself.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

    United States Consul.
  • Rev. M. Hale Houston,
[Inclosure 6 in 1 in No. 17.—Translation.]

Koo, intendant of circuit, to Mr. Lord.

Koo, by imperial appointment, intendant of the Ning-shao-tai circuit, makes the following communication:

On the 28th of the seventh month, (September 19,) I received from his excellency Yang, lieutenant-governor, a communication, in which he states that on the 8th of the seventh month, (August 30,) he received a petition from the gentry of Hang-chow, in which the petitioners state:

“Hang-chow is the chief city of the province of Che-Kiang, and the hill in it, called Kwan-me, influences the fung-shuy of the whole city. Hitherto the houses of the people on it have been low and small, and have therefore occasioned no harm.

“But some time ago the people there sold ground to some American missionaries, on which they have erected mission-buildings. This, to be sure, is not forbidden by the treaty; but since these buildings were erected, there have been in the city many disastrous fires, and frequently dangerous diseases. Those skilled in fung-shuy assert that this has been occasioned by these newly-built mission-houses, which, being high and formidable, convert the good influences into those that are bad, and thus occasion much harm. In consequence of this, rumors and complaints have been rife among the people. We, your petitioners, living in the same place with the people, and seeing them in this condition, are not able to be indifferent to it.

“We suppose the object of these missionaries in propagating religion is to exhort men to virtue; but if you want men to be virtuous, you must first secure to them tranquillity. Unless the minds of the people are tranquil, how can they propagate religion? At present the minds of the people are much disturbed, and some method should be at once adopted to quiet them.

“After much and careful consultation, it is our opinion that a piece of ground must be procured elsewhere for the missionaries, and they be persuaded to remove to it. At the same time, the original cost of their land and the expenses occasioned by their removal must be fully refunded to them. And now, this summer, we will go together to Ningpo, and in connection with Ch’àan Ching-yoh, of the gentry there, wait upon Mr. Lord, the American consul, and request him to communicate with the missionaries, informing [Page 240] them that this is for the harmony of the people, both Chinese and foreigners. Moreover, to make this exchange would” be of no harm to the missionaries, while to the people of Hang-chow the benefit would be great. We trust that the missionaries will cheerfully comply.

“Wherefore, we unitedly pray that you will send a communication to the intendant of circuit, requesting him to communicate with the consul, that he may rightly direct the missionaries. At the same time let a commissioner be sent to Ningpo, who, in connection with Ch’àn of the gentry there, may enter into negotiations and arrange for securing another place. And in regard to indemnity, let Mr. Chan, together with the commissioner, make all needful arrangements; so that the matter may be accomplished, the minds of the people tranquilized, and the fung-shuy be entirely protected.”

Now, in reference to the foregoing petition, I have to say that I find that it is stipulated in the twelfth article of the treaty that—

“Citizens of the United States residing or sojourning at any of the ports open to foreign commerce, shall be permitted to rent houses and places of business, or hire sites on which they can themselves build houses or hospitals, churches and cemeteries. The parties interested can fix the rent by mutual and equitable agreement; the proprietors shall not demand an exorbitant price, nor shall the local authorities interfere, unless there be some objections offered, on the part of the inhabitants of the place. The legal fees to officers for applying their seal shall be paid. The citizens of the United States shall not unreasonably insist on particular spots, but each party conduct with justice and moderation.”

According to this language, the treaty does not prohibit foreigners renting lands and building houses. But in this case, as there is objection on the part of the inhabitants, it is feared there would be difficulty in preserving harmony long betwixt the two parties. Now, as the gentry of Hang-chow are willing to indemnify the missionaries for their land, and for the expenses they will incur by their removal, and also to procure for them a piece of unoccupied land elsewhere, on which to build new houses, this seems truly to be for mutual harmony, and in accordance with right principle. So, in compliance with their earnest and urgent request, I think the matter needs immediate attention. Therefore, besides appointing Chu Meu-ts’ing, an expectant district magistrate, to act in concert with Ch’an Ching-yoh in procuring another place, and in arranging the matter of indemnity, I write you, to request that you will at once communicate with the American consul, and ask him to lay this matter before the missionaries, and to use endeavors to induce them to consent to remove, in order to meet the wishes of the people and promote harmony.

Having received the above communication, besides writing to the prefect at Ningpo, asking his co-operation in the matter, I have the honor to address you, and to request that you will, without delay, bring this matter before the missionaries, and use your best endeavors to induce them to remove, in order to meet the wishes of the people and promote harmony. Hoping your immediate attention.

[Inclosure 7 in 1 in No. 17.]

Mr. Lord to Koo, intendant of circuit.

Sir: I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency’s dispatch, dated the 25th instant, informing me that you had received a communication from his excellency Yang, the lieutenant-governor, in which he states, “I have received a petition from the gentry of Hang-chow, to the effect that,” &c.; and requesting me, in accordance with the instructions contained in said communication, to bring the matter referred to before the missionaries, and use my endeavors to induce them to consent to remove, in order to meet the wishes of the people and promote harmony.

In reply I have to say that wherever missionaries go, in accordance with the treaty, to propagate religion, their object is to exhort men to do good and to be on terms of amity with both officers and people. Inasmuch as those who give attention to the art of fung-shuy regard the missionary-houses on Kwan-me hill as harmful; and as the gentry are willing to secure for the missionaries residing there another place, and to indemnify them fully for the expenses of their removal, I have deemed it right to address a communication to said missionaries, and to advise them to consent to remove, in compliance with the wishes of the people.

[Page 241]

Moreover, as the commissioner, Chu, waited on me on his arrival at Ningpo, I have arranged with him as to the time when I will go to Hang-chow in order to arrange the matter with the missionaries in connection with him and Mr. Chân.

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

United States Consul.

His Excellency Koo,
Intendant of Circuit, Ningpo.

[Inclosure 10 in 1 in No. 17.]

Rev. M. H. Houston to Mr. Lord.

Sir: I have the honor to submit herewith the estimate of indemnity to be paid this mission in consideration of its present location on the hill being given up in exchange for another. As I wrote you in my letter of the 2d instant, I was assisted in preparing the estimate by the advice of Mr. Moule and Mr. Lyon, of this city, especially of the former, and you will see that both of these gentlemen indorse the estimate as, in their opinion, just and reasonable. I mentioned to you in my letter that the amount of the estimate, as calculated according to the plan recommended to me by Mr. Moule, really exceeded the amount of the estimate now submitted; but as my colleague and I had at first agreed on the latter amount as being a sufficient indemaity, I thought it best to leave it at this figure. Mr. Moule, who has had more experience in building than any other foreigner in Haug-chow, remarked to me yesterday that he thought the amount mentioned in the estimate was the very least that would be required to put the mission in as good a position as it is now. You may, therefore, regard the estimate which is now submitted as giving the minimum that the mission would consider it just to receive; and if the Chinese are disposed to deal fairly with us, as your letters to us have led us to trust they are, I do not see how they can demur to giving us all that is here claimed.

I inclose herewith the name of a locality where there is a vacant piece of ground, which would suit our purposes. It is on the plain, in a quiet part of the city, and is more than half a mile from the office of the lieutenant-governor, which is the nearest of the government offices. I know of no reason why the Chinese should object to our having this for our new location.

I would ask your attention to the last item of the estimate, that which proposes to include your traveling expenses and your fees. The sum annexed to this item is, I take it, manifestly too small, and I put it in this way that you might change it, and of course with it the amount of the estimate, as may seem to you proper.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Southern Presbyterian Mission.

E. C. Lord, Esq.,
United States Consul, Ningpo.

Estimate of indemnity to be paid the Southern Presbyterian Mission in Hang-chow, in the even of its present property on the hill being given up in exchange for another location, on the plain in the city.


[Page 242]
I. Eastern compound: Present value.
a. Chapel $850
b. Mission-residence, with kitchen and servants’ room 4,700
c. Girls’ school-house and out-house 1,575
d. Wash-house, coal-house, stone gate, &c 95
e. Clearing ground and sifting dirt 100
f. Wall of inclosure 500
g. Stone steps leading to residence 14
h. Stone steps leading to school-house, with wall 31
i. Capping interior wall 15
j. Stone revetment supporting upper plateaux 230
k. Masonry original on premises and still standing 275
II. Western compound:
l. Wall of inclosure $110
m. Clearing ground and sifting dirt 15
n. Boy’s school-house and out-houses 1,940
Total present value of property, exclusive of land 10,450
x. To meet fees of consul and expense of moving, (subject to revision by Dr. Lord) 50
Total indemnity in memory 10,500

In addition to the money indemnity, seven mow of suitable land to be given the mission on the plain of the city.

remarks on the above estimate.

The chapel is a brick building 41 feet by 32 feet, erected in 1871. The cost of the materials used in this building, with the Chinese labor employed, was $505. Since the erection of this and the other buildings of the mission, the price of building-materials has, in general, advanced. For bricks, which we bought at $55 per 10,000, we are now asked $62, an advance of 12 per cent. Stone, which we bought at 40 cents per 10 Chinese feet, is now 60 cents per 10 Chinese feet, an advance of 50 per cent. Tiles, for which we paid $18 per 10,000, now sell at $21, an advance of 16 per cent. Plank, which we bought at $1.05 per 10 Chinese feet, has risen to $1.20 per 10 Chinese feet, an advance of 14 per cent. Timber, for joists, which we bought at taels 0.032 per square foot, is now selling at taels 0.045 per square foot, an advance of 14 per cent. Other materials are about as when we bought.
This dwelling-house, built in 1871, is a two-story brick building with a verandah extending along the western and southern sides, and a portico over the main door on the north. It contains eight rooms of uniform dimensions, viz, 18 feet by 16 feet by 12 feet, with halls 8 feet wide above and below stairs; attached to the house is a two-story brick building, lower than the dwelling, in which are the kitchen, servants’ room, store-room, &c. The materials and Chinese labor used in constructing this house cost $3, 000. It was inspected soon after it was built by Mr. Brown, architect, of Shanghai, who estimated its value at $5, 000.
This school-house is a one-story brick building, erected in 1870, 69 feet by 32 feet in dimensions. It contains 8 rooms of varying sizes and a hall. Attached to it is a brick building used as a kitchen and dining-room. Of the cost of the materials of this building, which was not erected by the present members of the mission, we have no account.
The cost of material and Chinese labor in these improvements was about $90.
The actual cost of these improvements was about $100.
The actual cost of wall of inclosure was $500.
g and h.
The money expended in these improvements, was, respectively, $12 and $29.
The money expended on this wall was $15.
The money spent on this revetment was about $200.
The estimated value of two stone revetments, one 206 feet long and averaging 7 feet in height; the other, 30 feet long and 5 feet in height.
The cost of materials and Chinese labor on this wall was $100.
Fifteen dollars was the sum paid for this improvement.
The boys school-house, erected in 1872, is a two-story brick building, 44 feet in length by 30 feet in breadth. Outside of this is a verandah extending along the eastern and southern sides. The out-houses include a kitchen, wash-house, &c. The cost of materials and Chinese labor on this house was $1,422.
Of this sum $25 was intended to cover the expense of moving to the new location. The balance is submitted to the consul, to increase as he may judge proper.

The above estimate of indemnity submitted on behalf of the Southern Presbyterian Mission is in my opinion, just and equitable.

Southern Presbyterian Mission of America.

I have examined the above estimate and consider it fair and equitable.

English Christian Mission Society.

I consider the above a reasonable estimate.

American Presbyterian Mission.

Since the above was written a statement has been received from Mr. R. C. Brown, architect, of Shanghai, giving his opinion of the value of the dwelling-house, (b,) which is inclosed herewith. If this opinion is accepted it is easy to see the above estimate [Page 243] is below rather than above the true mark. Apart from the dwelling the money actually expended by the mission on the land and its improvements is $5,462. This, added to the value of the house, makes $10,462. Add to this the cost of moving, $50, and the increase in the cost of building-materials since Mr. Brown saw the house, viz, 15 per cent, of 85,400 = $810, ($5,400 being the cost of the materials used on the premises,) and we have an aggregate of $11,322. Now, deduct from this the value of seven mow of land on the plain, say $322. Mr. Moule bought between six and seven mow of good land on the plain for less than $300, and was told by the official that he had paid double the true price for such land. Reckoning, therefore, $322 a good price for seven mow, we have a balance of $11,000 as the money indemnity. And this, it must be noted, without giving anything like a true compensation for the labor and time of the foreigners who have superintended the purchase of the land, and the erection of the various improvements.


Copy of Mr. Brown’s letter referred to above:

Mr. Brown to Mr. Du Bose.

My Dear Mr. Du Bose: In answer to Mr. Houston’s inquiries respecting what I consider the value of his Hang-chow premises, as I saw them in 1871, I should say, for dwelling-house and servants’ houses attached, $5,000; and for the boundary-wall and small buildings, about $500.

Of course I was only a few hours at the place, and did not make any memorandum for this estimate, which, however, I think a fair one as I recollect the premises. An architect would supply plans and details for perhaps 4 per cent., the regular charge being 5 per cent, which includes inspection, and that he could not give, except at great expense of time and traveling; but plans sufficiently clear for any one to work would be given for 4 per cent., I should say. The cost of Oregon pine, per superficial foot, 1 inch thick, is about tael cents 4½ per foot; Japan, about 2½ cents. Foochow and Hankow poles about 18 feet long, by mean diameter of 6 inches, about taels 1.50 apiece. Singapore tongued and grooved flooring 4½ inches wide, on Oregon joists 6 by 3, costs about taels 12 to 13 per 10 feet square.

Yours, truly,

[Inclosure 11 in 1 in No. 17.]

Mr. Lord to Koo, intendant of circuit

Sir: On the 25th ultimo I had the honor of receiving your excellency’s dispatch of that date, informing me that you had received a communication from his excellency Yang, the lieutenant-governor, in which he states: “I have received a petition from the gentry of Hang-chow to the effect that,” &c., &c., and requesting me, in accordance with the instructions contained in said communication, to bring the matter referred to before the missionaries, and use my endeavors to induce them to consent to remove, in order to meet the wishes of the people and promote harmony. To this communication I replied at the time.

I have now to inform you that I arrived in this city on the 11th instant, since when I have been daily occupied, in connection with the two missionaries, Messrs. Houston and Helm, and the commissioners, Messrs. Ch’ăn and Chu, in selecting a building site for said missionaries. The place we have fixed upon is in the jurisdiction of the Jăn-hwo magistrate,* lying in the division called Wei-so, northwest of the T’ien Ham-chow bridge, and measuring about 10 mow, (1⅔ English acres,) as measured by an agent sent from the office of the district magistrate, ground that belonged to the people. At the request of the gentry the district magistrate has made out the deed of conveyance, which has been handed to me, and which I have delivered to the missionaries. The title-deeds held by the missionaries to the property on the hill have been given up to the commissioners, to be delivered to the lieutenant-governor. In regard to the indemnity to be paid the missionaries for expenses attending their removal, and cost of rebuilding their houses, although at first, while at Ningpo, I expressed the opinion that it might be $5,000 or more, yet, since coming to Hang-chow, observing the extent of their buildings and examining the accounts relating to them, I find that their claim amounts to $11,000. And I have to request that you will communicate this fact to his excellency the lieutenant-governor, with the request that he will direct the gentry to [Page 244] pay into my hands this amount, that I may hand it over to the missionaries, that they may he enabled at once to commence erecting their buildings.

As soon as the missionaries are able to remove from their present position on the hill I will inform you, that directions may be given to the commissioners to receive and take charge of the buildings and appurtenances thereto.

Respectfully requesting your attention to the contents of this letter, and the communication of the same to his excellency the lieutenant-governor, I have the honor, &c., &c.,

United States Consul.

His Excellency Koo,
Intendant of Circuit, Ningpo.

[Inclosure 12 in 1 in No. 17.]

Petition of the Hang-chow gentry, addressed to the prefect

Petitioners respectfully state that the Kwan-me hill, in the city of Hang-chow, is regarded as affecting the fung-shuy of the entire city. Some time since, the American missionaries erected some mission-buildings there, which the experts in fung-shuy say, being high and formidable, have converted the good influences into those that are bad, causing the minds of the people to be disturbed. Petitioners having consulted together, agreed that they would procure another place for the missionaries, and endeavor to persuade them to remove to it. At the same time they would indemnify them for all the expenses of their removal. They then petitioned the lieutenant-governor to address a communication to the intendant of circuit of Ningpo, requesting him to communicate with Mr. Lord, the American consul there, asking him to co-operate with the commissioners, Messrs. Chu and Ch’ăn, in arranging matters with the missionaries. The missionaries, comprehending fully the great principle involved, have signified their willingness to remove, and a piece of ground has been selected within the jurisdiction of the Jan-hwo magistrate, in the Wei-so division, and near the T’ien Ham-chow bridge. An agent has been sent from the office of the district magistrate to take its measurement, and purchase it from its owners, A title-deed has also been issued and conveyed to the missionaries, that they may erect buildings thereon.

Inasmuch as the Kwan-me hill is connected with the fung-shuy of the whole city, the matter is one of great importance.

Now, this matter has been effected by friendly negotiation, and the missionaries have consented to remove, from a desire to promote harmony. As they are about to commence erecting their houses, lest people in the neighborhood should not fully understand the matter, petitioners pray that you will issue a proclamation informing them. This will be really meritorious.

[Inclosure 13 in Tin No. 17.]

Mr. Lord to Rev. M. H. Houston.

Dear Sir: Your communication, dated the 8th instant, accompanying your “Estimate of indemnity to be paid the Southern Presbyterian Mission in Hang-chow in the event of its present property on the hill being given up in exchange for another location, on the plain, in the city,” reached me on my arrival in this city four days later.

I took the earliest opportunity to examine said estimate, and to lay the result before the commissioners appointed by the lieutenant-governor to arrange these matters with me. The request that I made of them was that they should select and secure to you a lot of land on the plain as large as the aggregate of those you now occupy on the hill, and situated so as to suit your convenience; and, in addition, to pay you for the expenses and trouble likely to be incurred in making the exchange desired a money indemnity, amounting to $11,000. This claim was not objected to as unfair; but a good deal of time and labor have been required in selecting and securing the ground, and in completing the arrangements. But I have at last the pleasure of informing you that the matters are all adjusted.

I hand you herewith a title, under the seal of the district magistrate, for the ground in question. And the money, I am authorized to say, will be paid at such times as will, I suppose, suit your convenience, viz: $5,000 on the 10th day of the present Chinese [Page 245] month; $4,000 on the 20th day of the first month of the next Chinese year; and $2,000 when you vacate the premises you now occupy, which it is expected you will do as soon as your new buildings can be erected.

Of the $11,000 to be paid to you, $10,450 are intended to cover the claims of your mission; $200 I have deemed it fair to add for personal losses and inconvenience; and $350 is a small commission charged for my services.

I have arranged to have a proclamation issued by the lieutenant-governor, showing that the exchange you have made has not been forced, but voluntary, and as the result of friendly negotiation.

I trust the matter as thus arranged will meet your approbation, and that the result will be to place you and your fellow-missionaries in this city in safer and more friendly relations with the ruling classes of the Chinese.

I am, &c., &c.,

    United States Consul.
  • Rev. M. Hale Houston,
[Inclosure 14 in 1 in No. 17.]

Rev. Mr. Houston to Mr. Lord.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge your favor of yesterday, accompanying the title-deed for the land to which it has been agreed this mission shall remove, and informing the mission of the arrangement which has been made for paying the money indemnity of $11,000. I beg to say, on behalf of the mission, that the arrangements which have been made for us in the matter are in all respects satisfactory to us; and we are glad to avail ourselves of this occasion to convey to you our appreciation of the judicious and skillful manner in which you have conducted the negotiations relating to our affairs.

I beg to inclose with this a bank-check (Chinese) for $350, the sum mentioned in your letter as the commission for your services. We regard this as a very small charge for the continued attention you have given to a business which, we are aware, has made heavy demands on your time and patience.

You will also please find inclosed another check for $60, which my colleagues here and myself hope you will accept from us, to be used in purchasing some article of silver, according to your taste, to serve as a small token of the personal regard which we entertain for you, and as a memento of the transaction which has just been happily brought to a close.

We would ask you to have engraved on it, if convenient, the following inscription: “Presented to Dr. E. C. Lord, United States consul, by the members of the Southern Presbyterian Mission in Hang-chow, in token of kind services rendered by him to the mission in the year 1873.” We regret that our situation renders it impossible for us to attend to this ourselves, but we trust that you will kindly oblige us in carrying out our request when you may find it convenient.

In conclusion, we feel ourselves bound to acknowledge with gratitude the good hand of God which has brought this mission safely and prosperously over the difficulties attending our position in this city, and which now opens to us the prospect of a quiet and, we trust, useful residence here. Recognizing in you the instrument through whom these benefits have been brought to us, I would renew to you, on behalf of my colleagues and myself the expression of our high esteem, and remain, sir, with much respect,

Your obedient servant,

  • M. H. HOUSTON,
    Southern Presbyterian Mission.
  • E. C. Lord,
    United States Consul, Ningpo.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 17.]

Mr. Williams to Mr. Lord.

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 40, with its various inclosures, relating to and explaining the various steps taken by you and the American [Page 246] missionaries at Hang-chow, with the native gentry and their rulers, to bring about an amicable settlement of the points of issue connected with the location of the mission premises, and the satisfactory settlement of the case.

Few are the occasions on which it has been so agreeable for me to reply to the report of a consul as to his conduct of a case as the present, and I not only congratulate you on its satisfactory termination, but regard it as proving that the missionaries settled in Hang-chow have won for themselves the good opinion of the gentry in the city and the respect of the rulers. It would not, of course, be wise to infer too much from this incident, as to the feelings of the people of Hang-chow; but the precedent which has been given by them as to the most desirable mode of arranging a question with foreigners, is of itself calculated to promote other like mutual concessions. Your long residence at Ningpo, and freedom in carrying on correspondence and conversation with the officers in their own language, have both peculiarly fitted you for bringing about an equitable settlement; and to your own satisfaction in feeling that all parties are content with the arrangement made, and your efforts in it, which you accept as your chief reward. I beg most cordially to add my approval of what has been done, and shall have pleasure in bringing it to the notice of the State Department. I shall be pleased to have you inform Messrs. Houston and Helm that their readiness to go through the labor of rebuilding the mission premises, in order to remove the irritation of the citizens, and the scrupulous care they have taken in getting the just valuation of their buildings and improvements, are worthy of commendation. I hope they will find increased facilities for their work in the greater favor of the people. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,


Edward C. Lord, Esq.,
United States Consul.

  1. Jăn-hwo is one of the two districts into which the city and environs of Hang-chow are divided.