Mr. Holcombe to Mr. Evarts.
Peking , December 12, 1878. (Received February 6.)
Sir: In my dispatch No. 76, of the 23d ultimo, I reported to you the details of a complaint made to me by our consul at Hankow, that the local authorities in Szchuen had refused to recognize certain transit-passes taken out by Mr. M. A. Jenkins, whose goods were, in consequence, detained in the interior of that province, I also forwarded a a copy of a dispatch in the business which I had addressed to Prince Kung.[Page 209]
Upon the 28th ultimo a response was received from the prince, a translation of which I now have the honor to inclose. As indicated only the usual routine reference of the subject to the provincial authorities of Szchuen, which would involve further and indefinite delay, I addressed the foreign office again, upon the 6th instant, objecting to this procedure as unnecessary, inasmuch as the language used by the Chung King magistrate, in his order warning Mr. Jenkins not to make use of the passes, not only failed to indicate any irregularity in the action of the merchant, but, in itself, condemned the course of the official as a manifest violation of treaty. I objected to the farther delay made necessary by this reference as involving my countryman in additional hardship and loss, and urged Prince Kung to issue peremptory orders that the transit passes should be respected and the produce passed to Hankow. I inclose a copy of this dispatch.
In order to leave no effort untried by which relief for Mr. Jenkins might be obtained, I visited the foreign office upon the 10th instant and spoke personally with the ministers in the case, reiterating the arguments and renewing the request contained in my dispatch. The ministers promised to instruct the magistrate peremptorily that, in case the transit passes, and the produce covered by them were in order,, he should allow Mr. Jenkins to take his goods to Hankow at once. And I am now in receipt of the inclosed dispatch from Prince Kung, informing me that orders have been issued as promised. I have thanked him for his prompt and satisfactory action.
Awaiting your approval of my course in this business,
I have &c.,