Mr. Holcombe to Mr. Evarts.
Peking, December 5, 1878. (Received February 24.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that several changes in the personnel of the foreign office have taken place during the past autumn.
Mao Changhsi and Li Hungtsao have both retired from it, and from all public life, in order to observe the three years’ mourning which is required by Chinese law on the death of their parents. The first named of these gentlemen has been in the foreign board for many years; the last named only about eighteen months. As neither of them took an active part in the business of the board, their retirement is not particularly noticeable.
Their places have been filled by the appointment of Wang Wen Chao and Chow Chia Mei. Of these, the former has been governor of Hunan, and is now senior vice-president of the board of rites. The latter has been, for years, the senior secretary of the foreign office. They are both intelligent gentlemen, and seem disposed to participate actively in the business of the office.
Chung How, recently appointed Chinese minister to Russia, and Kuo Sungtao, now on his return from the Chinese mission to Great Britian, still remain in nominal connection with the Yamen, which now numbers eleven members, and contains all the privy council of state.
I have, &c.,