Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, Transmitted to Congress, With the Annual Message of the President, December 1, 1879
Mr. Holcombe to Mr. Evarts.
Peking, November 12, 1878. (Received January 11.)
Sir: Recurring to Mr. Seward’s several dispatches concerning the conservation of the river and harbor at Shanghai, and more especially to [Page 193] his No. 371, bearing date December 29, 1877, which covered a set of rules agreed upon between the Chinese foreign office and the several legations here, and having for their object the protection of the harbor named, I now have the honor to submit for your consideration copies, in French and English, of a correspondence which has taken place concerning these rules between the consular body and the Chinese authorities at Shanghai, between the consular body and the diplomatic corps here, and between the last named and the foreign office.
From this correspondence it appears that, as provided for in the third article of the regulations in question, the consular body delegated certain of their number to co-operate with the harbor-master and the Chinese authorities in carrying the rules into effect. This delegation consisted of the consuls for Austria, France, and Great Britain. At their first meeting, held June 19 last, it was agreed to propose that the harbor-master’s jurisdiction be extended beyond the limits fixed in rule 2, and be enforced from Woosung to the Lunghwa Pagoda.
This proposition was in due course laid before the intendant of customs for his indorsement. While agreeing to the proposed extension of the limits down the river to Woosung, he objected to their extension up the stream to the Lunghwa Pagoda, and also to the application of the rules to what is known as the “Pootung side” of the river, opposite to the Chinese city and suburbs. It should be said that the objections of the Taotai cover those portions of the harbor which are given up mainly or exclusively to the anchorage of Chinese junks, and his intention would seem to be to prevent the application of the rules to native shipping. After some discussion, the intendant referred the matter at issue to the southern superintendent of foreign trade—the viceroy at Nanking—who sustained him in his objection to the extension of the harbor-master’s jurisdiction up the river, and its application to the shore opposite the Chinese city and suburbs, and directed him also to withdraw his consent to its extension down to Woosung. Thereupon the consular body referred the matter to the foreign representatives here.
After consideration of the subject, we requested the French minister, as doyen of the diplomatic corps, to inform the senior consul at Shanghai that, although the proposed extension is eminently desirable, yet the moment did not seem opportune, and it would have been better to have avoided all pretexts for opposition upon the part of the Chinese authorities, and to recommend them to confine their action strictly within the terms of the provisional rules in question.
Mr. Brenier was also requested to address Prince Kung, in the name of himself and his colleagues, in order to secure the issue of instructions to the viceroy at Nanking, to carry into operation the rules as originally agreed to.
The answer of the foreign office is decidedly non-committal, and it is by no means certain that the local authorities at Shanghai will consent to the enforcement of these rules upon all persons and all craft within the area originally defined.
As native shipping is responsible for a full share of the abuses which have led to the deterioration of the harbor at Shanghai, it maybe a question whether anything practical will be gained by the application of the rules to foreign vessels and over a portion of the specified area, unless they can be enforced upon both classes alike, and without modification or exception.
Asking your approval of my action in this business, I have, &c.,
Shanghai, August 10, 1878.
Mr. Minister and Doyen: The third article of the provisional regulations, relating to the port of Shanghai, sent from Peking in 1878, charged the consular body to name a committee to co-operate with the harbor-master and native officials, in order to fix the limits mentioned in the regulations. This committee was formed, and consisted of the representatives of Austro-Hungary, France, and Great Britain.
The action taken by the committee and Taotai is reported by them in a letter, which, at the request of the consular body, the chairman of the committee has addressed to me, under date of 10th instant.
In obedience to the request of the consular corps, I forwarded to your excellency the subjoined letter as well as a translation of the correspondence had with the Taotai.
Receive, Mr. Minister and Doyen, the assurances of my high consideration.
Consul-General for Germany, Doyen of the Consular Body.
Shanghai, August 10, 1878.
Dear Sir and Colleague: In accordance with the resolution taken at the meeting of the consular body on the 2d day of August, 1878, to give a summary of the proceedings of the committee appointed to deliberate with the local authorities the execution of the Tsungli Yamên’s Regulations regarding the preservation of the Shanghai Harbor, I have the honor to report as follows:
The first meeting of the committee was held on the 19th of June, 1878, where all the members present unanimously agreed to propose that the present limits of the harbormaster’s jurisdiction should be extended beyond the localities specified in the second article of the Tsungli Yam en’s Regulations, in order to secure for them the greatest possible efficiency, and for that purpose it was proposed that the control and authority of the harbor-master should be enforced in future time all over the river from Woosung up to the Lunghwa Pagoda.
The undersigned was directed to communicate this proposition to the acting Taotai, with the request to procure for the same the approval of the Chinese Government.
It was further decided that in the mean time the harbor-master should survey the river and prepare the plans in reference to the line for the wharves and jetties, &c., which are to be taken into deliberation as soon as the question of the future limits of the harbor-master’s jurisdiction shall be decided.
On the 20th June, 1878, I communicated to the acting Taotai the minutes of the meeting, requesting him to indorse the resolution of the committee in regard to the proposed extension of the harbor-master’s jurisdiction, and secure for the same the approval of the Chinese Government. I also had some personal interviews with the acting Taotai, discussing and demonstrating the necessity and expediency of the proposed measure.
At these occasions, as well as by the acting Taotai’s note, dated June 29, 1878, which I received in reply to the one addressed to him on June 19, 1878, it would be seen that the acting Taotai, although willing to adopt the committee’s opinion in regard to an extension of the harbor-master’s jurisdiction all over the river as far down as Woosung, is not only utterly averse to any extension of the same on the upper part of the river, but is going even so far, notwithstanding the respective decision of the Tsungli Yamên, as to object to have the harbor-master’s jurisdiction established over that part of the river opposite the Chinese city and suburbs, where the junks and other Chinese craft are usually anchored, pleading that any interference with them by the harbor-master might give rise to many difficulties.
At a subsequent interview, I distinctly made the Taotai understand that this objection could never be admitted by the consular body as according to the second paragraph of the Tsungli Yamên’s Regulations, where the present limits of the harbormaster’s jurisdiction are clearly defined, that part of the river opposite the Chinese city and suburbs is already placed under the control and authority of the harbor, master, and I also pointed out to this functionary the incompatibility of his altering a decision of the highest authority in such an arbitrary way.
In the same sense I addressed the acting Taotai in writing, on the 13th of July, 1878, but much to my regret without having been able to change his opinion in regard to this point.
The acting Taotai replied to my last note the 18th day of July, 1878, admitting as [Page 195] before the extension of the harbor-master’s jurisdiction over the whole part of the river north of the bridge of the 16th tithing, at the boundaries of the French concession, down to Woosung, declining, however, not only any extension of the same on the upper part of the river, but even objecting to have the river opposite the Chinese city and suburbs, south of the bridge of the 16th tithing, placed under the control of the harbor-master; and therefore remains still at variance with the above quoted decision of the Tsungli-Yamen.
The acting Taotai intends to lay the question before the superintendent of the southern ports, who, according to his opinion, is competent to decide the same.
I may be permitted finally to say that the correspondence which took place between myself and the Taotai in regard to the extension of the harbor-master’s jurisdiction, viz, the notes I addressed to this functionary on the 20th June and 13th of July, and the replies I received on June the 29th and July 18, 1878, I had already the honor to transmit to you in due time.
I have, &c.,
Shanghai, June 20, 1878.
Your Excellency: Referring to your note of May 29, 1878, I beg to inform you that a meeting of the committee to deliberate the execution of the regulations drawn up by the Tsungli-Yamtai regarding the conservation of the Shanghai Harbor was held on the 19th day of June, 1878.
It was unanimously agreed that the local authorities, after the survey of the river, shall make a proposition in regard to the limits of the jurisdiction to be exercised by the harbor-master in accordance with the rules of the Tsungli-Yamen for the consecration of the Shanghai Harbor.
After the determination of the limits of the jurisdiction of the harbor-master the lines as mentioned in Article III of the aforesaid rules will be proposed.
It was also unanimously considered to be the most urgent necessity that at the occasion of defining the future limits of the jurisdiction of the harbor-master, the same ought to be extended far beyond the existing points as well up as down the river, in order to prevent obstructions, although put up in a certain distance to endanger or deteriorate in time the fairway of the river.
For this reason, it seems to be very desirable that in the future the jurisdiction of the harbor-master should be in force from Woosung up to Lunghwa Pagoda.
Directed by the committee to inform your excellency of these resolutions, the committee trust that your excellency will indorse their opinion, and procure from the Chinese Government the approbation of the same.
I have, &c.,
By a communication of the Acting Taotai to Chevalier Boleslawski, Imperial Royal Austro-Hungarian consul.
Cha-lan-Shêng communicates the following:
I had the honor to receive your communication of the 20th of June regarding the meeting for deliberating the regulations of the Tsungli-Yamen concerning the preservation of the harbor of Shanghai. In the same is stated that there is the most urgent necessity to define the future limits of the jurisdiction of the harbor-master, and that the same shall be extended from Woosung up to the Lunghwa Pagoda.
On the 28th instant I had the honor to receive your call, when we again spoke of the former business.
I find that the tract of the Huang-pu River, beginning from the little east gate, north of the bridge of the sixteenth tithing, at the boundaries of the French settlement, down to the mouth of Woosung, is constantly occupied by foreign ships coming [Page 196] and going, and it is therefore a natural consequence that the tract in question should he under the jurisdiction of the harbor-master.
Concerning, however, the tract of the Huang-pu River, beginning south of the bridge of the sixteenth tithing up to the Lunghwa Pagoda, there were hitherto no foreign ships anchored, and the same is full of little boats from various places of the interior going and coming; there are, moreover, numerous junks; it is, therefore, very difficult to place this tract under the jurisdiction of the harbor-master; it ought to be left to the district magistrate of Shanghai to fix regulations, and to issue thereupon notices, in order that the junks and the people living on the shores of the Huang-pu may unanimously obey (such regulations), and a distinct line in the respective boundaries will be thus re-established.
Should the tract of the river south of the bridge of the sixteenth tithing up to the Lunghwa Pagoda, also be under the rule of the harbor-master, it is to be apprehended, as the junks arriving from the various places are unaware of such regulations being fixed, that great difficulties would arise therefrom.
This tract ought to remain still under the jurisdiction of the district magistrate, who again will depute an officer who will assist (the magistrate) in exercising the jurisdiction; thus every difficulty will be avoided, and the affair carried on in safety.
In matters regarding the construction of wharves, &c., that deputy can, not being an expert in such matters, consult the harbor-master.
Concerning the regulations to be drawn up for the preservation of the tract of the Huang-pu River north of the bridge of the sixteenth tithing down to the mouth of the Woosung, I beg that your honor, together with your colleagues, and the district magistrate of Shanghai, and the officers delegated, Chang and Tung, besides the harbor-master, will take a survey, draw thereupon a plan, and make the necessary remarks thereon, and accordingly to draw up regulations and to send all to the Taotai, that he may deliberate and take a decision thereon, and he may hereafter transmit the same in a report to his excellency, the superintendent of trade of the southern ports, and to the governor of Foochov, and the Taotai will then act accordingly to the reply thereon.
In this sense I wrote also to the commissioner of customs, to the district magistrate, and to the respective delegates.
This is a special reply.
Shanghai, July 13, 1878.
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of June the 29th, and in reply to your observations to the proposed extension of the harbor-master’s jurisdiction, I beg to carry your attention to the second paragraph of the regulations regarding the conservation of the Shanghai Harbor, drawn up by the Tsungli Yamên in concert with the representatives of the treaty powers.
According to the tenor of this paragraph the authority and control of the very same, tract of the river—south of the bridge of the 16th tithing—which you desire to remain as heretofore, under the jurisdiction of the district magistrate, is already by the Tsungli Yamên for the future accorded to the harbor-master, and therefore an alteration of this decision would not be appropriate.
The committee, with the intention to secure the greatest efficiency of the regulations now under deliberation, considered it an urgent necessity to have the harbor-master’s jurisdiction extended beyond the point enumerated in the second paragraph of the Tsungli Yamên regulations, and proposed for that purpose that the river from Woosung up to the Lunghwa Pagoda should be placed in the future under the control of the harbor-master.
I can only repeat my request that your excellency may be pleased to procure for this proposition the approval of the Chinese Government; and I beg further to say that in the mean time the harbor-master will prepare the plans in reference to the line to be fixed for the wharves, jetties, &c.; which, after due deliberation, will be submitted by the committee to the consular body for further action.
I have, &c.,
Communication of the acting Taoutai, Cha-lan-Sheng, to the Aus Chevalier de Boleslawski.
On the 15th instant, I had the honor to receive your communication in regard to the proposed regulations for the preservation of the harbor of Shanghai, and that the jurisdiction of the harbor-master shall extend from Woosung up to the Lunghwa Pagoda. You further request me to procure the approval of the high authorities to this proposition. Concerning this point I find that (the tract of the river) north of the bridge of the 16th tithing down to Yang Shoo-poo (boundary of the American settlement), and the water-read down to the mouth of the Woosung, was, according to the rule hitherto existing, under the control of the harbor-master.
When I had the pleasure of seeing you on the 12th instant I called your attention to this point.
Your letter of the 15th instant speaks still of the boundaries from Woosung up to Lunghwa Pagoda.
The limits of every harbor of the southern treaty ports were hitherto always fixed, according to the real state of circumstances, by the superintendent of trade for the southern ports.
As your honor’s suggestion is not in accord with mine, I petitioned thereupon to the superintendent of trade for the southern ports—Shen and I shall act according to his decision.
As soon as I have his decision thereupon I shall communicate the same to you.
Mr. Minister and Doyen: The consular corps of Shanghai has the honor to forward to the diplomatic corps, at Peking, the subjoined copy and translation of a third dispatch, which the Taotai of Shanghai has addressed Mr. de Boleslawski, on the subject of the provisional rules relating to the port of Shanghai.
The two parts of the river placed at present under the orders of the harbor-master are indicated on the plan subjoined, near to Shanghai by II, and near Woosung by two red lines.
The region under control of the harbor-master has been extended by Article 2 of the Provisional Rules over that part of the river which is marked on the plan with III, along the Chinese city and it suburbs.
The committee of the consular corps, the harbor-master and the two Chinese deputed by the Taotai have moreover recommended the extension of the provisional rules over those portions of the river marked on the plan by I and IV.
The governor-general at Nanking is opposed to any extension of the present radius, and answers me that the second article of the provisional rules has not placed part III under the orders of harbor-master.
The consular corps cannot help but indicate to the diplomatic corps that it would be an essential advantage if the second article, which places part III under control of the harbor-master, could be put into execution.
To do this, it is indespensable that the Tsungli-Yamên should renew their instructions to the governor-general at Nanking.
As to the extension of this provisional rule over the parts I and IV of the river, the consular corps well know its desirability, and has the honor to commend this question to the kind consideration of the diplomatic corps at Peking.
Receive, Mr. Minister and Doyen, the assurances of my high consideration,
Consul-General for Germany and Doyen of the Consular Corps.
Dispatch from the acting Taotai, Cha, to the Austro-Hungarian consul, Chevalier de Boleslawski.
Cha, &c., makes the following communication:
On the 13th day of the 7th moon, the 4th year of Kuang hsii (August 11, 1878), I had the honor to receive from the superintendent of trade for the southern ports, His Excellency Sheu, the decision upon my report, which I made according to orders received with regard to the regulations for the conversation of the harbor of Shanghai, [Page 198] and to the deliberations which took place concerning the limits of the Huang-pu for the jurisdiction of the harbor-master.
According to this decision received, the very first important matter is the firm maintainance of the old limits.
In the careful translation of the definement of the foreign settlements of Shanghai the southern limit goes just to the end of the French, and the northern limit just to the end of the American settlement, a fact known to both Chinese and foreigners.
The meaning of the second paragraph of the inspector-general, Mr. Hart’s, proposed regulations is, that the harbor-master’s jurisdiction goes over that part of the river which is within the settlements, and nothing is contained therein of the part south of the bridge of the 16th tithing; also nothing of Woosung; this is quite clear.
What is moreover therein contained about the part of the river opposite of the city wall, of the Chinese custom-house, of the suburbs, and the foreign settlement, as well the part of the Hongkew Creek between the settlements, point specially out the limits of the eastern and western shores of the Huang-pu. The Huang-pu River, within the settlements, has on its western shore the district city, the foreign customhouse, and the Hongkew Creek; on its eastern shore, only open country and villages.
To the south and north the limits are clearly defined by those of the foreign settlements, and it is unnecessary to lose more words about it.
Moreover, in the same paragraph the foreign settlements are twice mentioned, and their meaning is very clear. The passage, “to that part of the Hongkew Creek,” denotes also, clearly, that thereby the part of the river between the settlements is meant, therefore the jurisdiction cannot go beyond the settlements.
Generally speaking, the western boundary of the settlements ends at the bridge of the Hongkew Village, which for this reason is also generally comprised among the limits of the harbor.
Now the consular body desire to have extended the limits towards the south and north for together several tens of li, which, however, does really not agree with the regulations of the foreign settlements.
Moreover, in the first paragraph of the regulations for anchorage of the second year of Tung Chih there is contained, “that the places for anchorage have been fixed within the settlements,” and this refers to the old regulations of the settlements; it is therefore evident that beyond the settlements no foreign ships can anchor, load or discharge cargo; such places could not have been assigned to this purpose by the harbor-master.
The Taotai by not assigning the south of the settlements to the jurisdiction of the harbor-master did very properly. He agreed, however, on the other side, that the north of the settlements should be extended over 20 li, and this was not correct; he ought to have ascertained the old limits of the settlements in the south and north, and thereupon deliberate the question, and act with correctness.
As soon as the matter is deliberated and fixed, the harbor-master has to draw up an accurate plan of the limits of the river under his jurisdiction, that it may be placed in record for further references.
According to these instructions it has to be acted properly and further reports to be made.
These the contents of the dispatch received from the superintendent of trade which the Taotai already communicated to the commissioner of customs, that he may thereupon order the harbor-master to act accordingly.
I feel myself in duty bound to communicate the same to your honor, and beg of you to further communicate it to the whole consular body, that they may act accordingly.
Consul-General for Germany and Chief of the Consular Body, Shanghai:
Previous to his departure for Shanghai Mr. de España handed me your letter of 26th August, ultimo, with various documents relating to an arrangement concluded in Pekin between the diplomatic corps and the Tsung li Yamên relative to the port of Shanghai.
At the time all my colleagues were absent staying at their temples, and his excellency the Peruvian minister knew nothing of the matter at issue, so it was impossible to ascertain the views of any of my colleagues on the subject. It is these untoward circumstances that have caused the delay in making the answer which, as temporary chief of the diplomatic body in Pekin, I am charged to make.
If we have well understood your letter of the 20th August to his excellency Mr. de España, and to which was annexed a translation of a third copy of despatch, which the Shanghai Taotai had addressed to Mr. Boleslawski concerning provisional rules relating to the port of Shanghai, the governor-general at Nanking is opposed not [Page 199] only to the execution of article 2 of the provisional rule, above that part of the river opposite the Chinese city and suburbs, and which is marked on the plan which you addressed the chief of the diplomatic body as No. III, but he also objects entirely to article 2 of provisional rules which place this portion III under the orders of the harbor-master.
This article 2 being perfectly clear and precise, the diplomatic corps have unanimously addressed a verbal note to the Tsung li Yamên with the request that the yamên insist that the viceroy at Nanking should respect and execute this rule, which His Imperiei Highness Prince Kung, by his letter of 31st January, 1878, proposed to ratify if we approved.
In regard to the extension of the provision of rules over the parts I to IV, the diplomatic corps is of the opinion that the consular body at Shanghai would have done better and avoided all pretext for opposition on the part of the Chinese authorities, if they had not sought to accomplish what the diplomatic corps itself recognizes as eminently desirable— i. e., the extension of the rules in question over the parts I to IV.
It seems desirable, therefore, to recommend that the consular body at Shanghai should, for the moment, confine their action strictly within the terms of the provisional rules in question.
Please accept, sir, the assurance of my most distinguished consideration.
His Imperial Highness Prince Kung and their excellencies the members of the Tsung-li Yamên:
On the 31st January, 1878, Your Imperial Highness Prince Kung honored each member of the diplomatic body with a letter containing certain provisional rules, proposed by Mr. Hart, inspector-general of imperial maratime customs, relating to the port of Shanghai.
The letter of Your Imperial Highness ended thus:
“This is the communication which we have received from Mr. Hart; all of which has for its object the conversation of the river and the port of Shanghai, is for general interest of commerce and merchants.”
I inclose a copy of the rules mentioned, and pray your excellency to communicate them, if it be approved by you, to the consuls of your nation to the end that they may be obeyed. I wait a telegram from your excellency.
We severally addressed replies to His Imperial Highness approving the provisional rules in question, and we inform Your Imperial Highness that we had communicated these rules to our consuls and instructed them to conform themselves to them.
The diplomatic corps deeply regret to inform Your Imperial Highness and your excellencies that, according to the reports we have received from our consuls at Shanghai, who have addressed us after some months, it results that his excellency the Viceroy of Nanking objects, as required by article 2 of the provisional rule, to placing the part of the river situated in face of the Chinese city and its suburbs under the authority and control of the harbor-master.
The terms of article 2 bear but one interpretation, and we request from Your Imperial Highness and your excellencies permission to reproduce it.
“Article 2. The authority and control that the harbor-master can exercise can be extended, and it is defined by the present rule to extend over that part of the river that faces the Chinese city, its suburbs, the foreign concession, and the Souchow Creek embraced in these concessions.”
The diplomatic corps, therefore, beg that Your Imperial Highness and your excellencies will instruct the viceroy at Nanking to respect this provisional rule, as proposed to the diplomatic corps at Pekin by Your Imperial Highness.
Memorandum from the Tsung-li Yamên in response to a communication received October 19, 1878.
It is evident that in all the stipulations of these rules the interests of the port and approaches of Shanghai are kept in view, but that they are no doubt susceptible of some modification, if on rigorus application any local obstacles are met with.
We have received from the northern and southern superintendents of trade a rêsume of the discussion which the intendent of customs and the several consuls have had on the subject. They are not at all of the same opinion.[Page 200]
We have written to the inspector-general of customs, in order that he might make his comments upon the proposed modifications to the rules.
The inspector-general advises us to reply negatively to the interpretation given by the consuls to article II, as overstepping the limits fixed by the regulations.
We have instructed the two superintendents to reach some definite arrangement, whereby the rule may become susceptible of perpetual application.
To L. L. E. E., the Members of the Foreign Board:
The Doyen of the diplomatic body has the honor to acknowledge receipt of the Yamên’s memorandum sent him yesterday, in response to one forwarded on the 19th of this month by Mr. Dévéria, and he is requested by the several members of the diplomatic body to address the following remarks to the foreign board.
The diplomatic body has not requested the extension of article 2 of the provisional regulation proposed to be adopted by His Imperial Highness Prince Kung, but simply claim the execution of the second article of this regulation, which was produced in its entirety, in order to avoid all misconception.
Regarding the opinion of the acting inspector-general of customs, transmitted to us by the foreign board, there remains but to inform the Yamên, that had this agent of the Chinese Government been better informed he would have known that the Doyen of the diplomatic body in the name of his colleagues had, in the early part of the month, addressed the consul-general for Germany, Doyen of the consular body at Shanghai, requesting him to conform strictly to the terms and limits fixed by the second article of the provisional rules in question.
The Doyen of the diplomatic body has therefore again the honor to pray in his own name, as well as in those of his colleagues of the diplomatic corps in Pekin, that the Tsung-li Yamên will instruct the viceroy at Nanking to execute the provisional rules as proposed to the diplomatic corps at Pekin by His Imperial Highness, Prince Kung.
The Tsung-li Yamên to the French Minister.
On the 24th of October we received your letter, to which was annexed a memorandum signed by the various foreign representatives resident at Pekin.
We have immediately taken note of it.
As regards the request therein made to us again to instruct the viceroy of the two Kiang to conform to the regulations, &c., we had already replied to it in our memorandum, so that it is superfluous to refer to it again here.
We are forwarding to the viceroy your two collective memoranda, telling him to lend his attention to them.
On the other hand, we beg your excellency to please communicate the present note to the diplomatic body.
We have, &c.,
A true translation.