No. 72.
Mr. Young to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

[Extract.]
No. 85.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose a translation of a treaty made between the Chinese grand secretary of state, Li Hung Chang, and the Corean envoys to China.

This convention has excited much attention among the representatives of the powers which have signed conventions with the King of Corea.

I inclose also a memorandum written by Mr. Holcombe, pointing out the salient points in this convention, wherein it diverges from the existing treaties, and the objections the western powers must advance to its enforcement.

Mr. Holcombe’s familiarity with the negotiations which culminated in the treaty signed by Commodore Shufeldt will give value to his analysis as a thorough presentation of the whole subject, and I therefore commend his memorandum to your attention.

* * * * * * *

Taking everything into consideration, the legation will hear with pleasure that the Shufeldt convention has been ratified. I think it very important that the United States should have a footing in Corea, and that, having opened the door, we should not close it nor give any other power precedence.

I look upon all our conventions with these Asiatic powers as tentative. We have very little to lose whether Corea becomes a province of China or is annexed to Japan or remains independent. The only power whose presence in Corea would affect our trade would be Russia, as the policy of Russia would be to open trade channels overland and limit the seaboard commerce.

Our convention with Corea is, commercially, a step in the path of progress, and made, as was our first convention with Japan, with the view of extending into Asia the advantages of our civilization. With the other powers it is political, and is bound up with the aims and schemes of western nations for aggrandizement in Asia. As we have no interest in these enterprises, as we have at heart the independence of these Asiatic nations, I am anxious to see our country in a position where her moral influence can aid in maintaining the existing autonomy of China, Japan, Corea and Siam.

[Page 173]

The Shufeldt convention puts us in that position, a position we should, not surrender. And any question of trade between Corea and China, or any reciprocal treaty like the one I inclose, is of minor concern, and can be governed by diplomatic action.

I have said that all these treaties are tentative. I think also that the disposition of the Asiatic nations to enter into treaty relations with each other should be encouraged. We cannot expect from the diplomatists of China and Corea that familiarity with the principles of international law which gives sacredness and prestige to the conventions between the western powers; but the Japanese treaty with Corea last summer, and even this extraordinary treaty, are steps towards western ways and laws, and in that have value. These recent treaties have the Oriental quality of imitation in this, that even the faults of western diplomacy, as so regarded by Oriental statesmen, are faithfully copied when they come to deal with one another. If there is one claim, for instance, which they resent and under which they groan as though it were a heavy burden, it is exterritoriality. We regard it as a security against the application of barbarous procedures to our people. The Orientals feel that it is a principle which, when honestly enforced, must in time affect the existence of the Government which accepts it, and that to extend it is to limit the power of the throne, an apprehension which has a basis in logic if not in experience. Nothing would gratify China and Japan more than for the western nations to abandon this right. Yet when Japan and China, who resent exterritoriality forced upon them by western treaties, come to deal with a sister nation, they compel Corea to grant them the same privilege.

I might add further illustrations in evidence; but the point in the whole discussion which seems essential is, that having opened the door to Corea we should go in and do what good we may.

* * * * * * *

I have, &c.,

JNO. RUSSELL YOUNG.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 85.—Translation.]

Commercial and trade regulations for the subjects of China and Corea.

Corea having been, from ancient times, a tributary state, the canons of her intercourse in all matters with the Government of China are fixed and need not be changed. But inasmuch as other nations have now established commercial relations with Corea, it is manifestly expedient that the interdict against intercourse by sea be at once removed, to the end that the subjects of the two nations may reciprocally enjoy the advantages of commercial intercourse. And it is further expedient that the regulations for trade at the barrier between the territories of the two contracting parties be taken into consideration and slightly modified to meet the requirements of the age.

The commercial and trade regulations hereinafter established are, however, to be regarded as so many concessions on the part of China to her tributary state, and are not within the scope of the “favored nation rule,” existing between the several treaty powers and China.

The following regulations are hereby established:

Article I. Hereafter commercial agents will be appointed by the northern superintendent of foreign trade to reside at the several ports in Corea which are open to foreign commerce, for the superintendence and protection of Chinese subjects. Such agents shall correspond with Corean authorities upon terms of equality, and shall be treated with all due consideration.

In case grave matters of business arise, in which the commercial agents deem it inexpedient to assume the responsibility of coming to a decision with the Corean authorities, they will report the facts to the northern superintendent of foreign trade, who [Page 174]will communicate* with the King of Corea, who will direct his council of state to consider and determine the business.

The King of Corea will appoint an envoy to reside at Tien-Tsin, and commercial agents to reside at the other ports in China which are open to foreign trade. The envoy and the commercial agents shall correspond with intendants, prefects, sub-prefects, district magistrates, and other local authorities at the open ports on terms of equality.

In case difficult questions arise, the commercial agents shall be permitted to make suitable representation to the envoy at Tien-Tsin, who may request either the northern or southern superintendent of foreign trade to take the questions in hand and dispose of them. The necessary expenses of the several agents of the two Governments shall be borne by each Government for itself, and no extortion or demand for compensation shall be permitted. If any agent of either Government persists in arrogant conduct or manages business in an improper manner, upon communication of such facts either by the northern superintendent of foreign trade or the King of Corea, the agent in question will be at once recalled.

Art. II. Suits at law between Chinese subjects at the open ports in Corea shall be heard and determined by the Chinese authorities. In all civil and criminal cases in Corea, in which Corean subjects are plaintiffs and Chinese subjects defendants, arrests shall be made and the cases heard and determined by the Chinese commercial agents. In cases in which Chinese subjects are plaintiffs and Corean subjects are defendants, it shall be the duty of the proper Corean authorities to arrest and produce the defendants, and, conjointly with the Chinese authorities, hear and determine the case according to law.

All cases at law arising in the ports in China which are open to foreign trade, whether civil or criminal, in which Corean subjects are concerned, either as plaintiffs or defendants, shall be heard and determined by the Chinese local authorities, according to law. The judgment shall be communicated to the Corean agent for record. If the Corean subjects concerned are dissatisfied with the verdict, the high Chinese authorities may be appealed to by the Corean agents to order a new hearing in the interest of justice.

When Corean subjects have occasion to visit the offices of Chinese agents in Corea, or of Chinese local authorities at the open ports in China, in order to lay complaints against Chinese subjects, the constables, clerks, or other servants will not be allowed to extort money or the least compensation from them.

Violations of this rule will be punished with the utmost severity upon proof being laid before the official who is responsible for the guilty party.

If the subjects of either power, whether in their own land or in the ports of the other country which are open to foreign trade, who may be guilty of violation of the laws, take refuge within the territories of the other power upon information communicated by the commercial agents of either power to the local authorities, the latter shall take measures to arrest the guilty parties, and shall deliver them into the custody of the nearest commercial agent, to be returned for trial to their native country. Such persons, however, shall not be subjected to any ill-usage in excess of necessary restraint.

Art. III. The merchant vessels of either power shall be permitted, at the option of their owners, to frequent the ports of the other which are open to foreign trade. Export and import duties and all other customs charges shall be paid as provided by the regulations already agreed to between the two Governments.

If the vessels of either power are driven by stress of weather or stranded upon the coasts of the other, their crews shall be permitted to land at the nearest point in order to purchase supplies and to repair their vessels. All expenses shall be borne by the masters of the ships concerned, and all necessary assistance and protection shall be rendered by the local authorities.

If a ship of either power be wrecked upon the coast of the other, the local authorities shall devise measures to preserve life and property. They shall deliver over the passengers and crew to the nearest commercial agent of the Government concerned, who will return such shipwrecked persons to their native land, in order to avoid the expenses involved in the former rules for dealing with such cases.

If the merchant vessels of either country, not being driven thither by stress of weather or to make necessary repairs, clandestinely visit ports of the other country not open to foreign trade, for the purpose of traffic, such vessels and their cargoes shall be subject to seizure and confiscation.

It is, however, agreed that the fishing vessels of either power shall be allowed to frequent the coasts of Ping Au, Huang Hai Tao, in Corea, and of Shantung and Manchuria, in China, for the purpose of taking fish. The fishermen may land at [Page 175]pleasure to purchase food and water. They shall not be permitted to carry on a clandestine traffic in merchandise, and if found guilty of such conduct the vessel concerned will be subject to seizure and confiscation.

If fishermen are guilty of violation of the laws or regulations of any locality where they land they shall be arrested and handed over to the nearest commercial agent to be dealt with as provided in Article II.

After the expiration of a period of two years from the date of this convention the question of the dues and duties to be levied upon fishing craft shall be taken up and conjointly determined by the two Governments.

[Note.—The Shantung fishermen, because the fish are driven over to the Corean coasts, opposite Shantung, by the steamers, go clandestinely in thousands every year to fish among the islands along the Huang Hai Tao, in Corea.]

Art. IV. Subjects of either power proceeding to the ports of the other, which are open to foreign trade, and peaceably attending to their affairs, shall be permitted to lease buildings or land and to construct residences or other buildings thereon. They shall be allowed to traffic in all native produce and other merchandise not declared contraband by law. They shall pay import and export duties and tonnage dues, according to the regulations and tariff mutually fixed by the customs authorities of the two Governments. In addition to such dues and duties, whenever it is desired to transport native produce from one open port to another open port, such produce having paid export duty at the first port shall in addition thereto upon entry at the second port pay half of the export already levied.

Since Corean subjects are permitted by law to trade in Peking, Chinese subjects shall be at liberty to open warehouses at Yang Hua Chin and Han Cheng.* Aside from this privilege the subjects of either power shall not be permitted to transport merchandise into the interior or to open shops there for its sale.

If the subjects of either Government wish to proceed to the interior of the territory of the other in order to purchase native produce, they shall make application through their respective commercial agents to the local authorities, and the two above-named officials will issue a joint permit for the point to which the applicant desires to proceed. He shall be allowed to hire carts, horses, or boats at his option, and will be required to pay all local and lekin taxes on the native produce purchased by him.

Subjects of either power desiring to travel in the interior of the territory of the other must make application to the commercial agent concerned, who, with the local authorities, will issue a joint passport allowing them to proceed. If at any point in the interior such persons are guilty of offenses against the laws, they may be arrested by the local authorities and delivered to the nearest commercial agent to be dealt with according to Article II. They shall not, however, be subjected to any ill-usage in excess of necessary restraint.

Art. V. Heretofore trading posts have been established upon the border lines of the two Governments at Icho, Huci Ning, and Ching Yuan, at which points the trade was controlled by officials. Much inconvenience resulted from this system. It is therefore now agreed that trading posts shall be established at Icho and Chamen von either side of the Ya lu Chiang, and at Huci Chun and Kuci Ning on either side of the In Men Chiang, to which the subjects of the two powers shall be freely permitted to proceed for purposes of traffic. At each of these points officials will be stationed by the Government within whose domain it lies to preserve order and collect tthe revenue.

At the trading posts a uniform ad valorem duty of 5 per centum will be levied upon, all exports and imports excepting red ginseng. The requisitions heretofore made by the officials at these trading posts for residences, food, &c., are all abolished. Civil or criminal cases at law between the residents on the border shall be dealt with by the respective local authorities according to regulations heretofore made.

The northern superintendent of foreign trade and the King of Corea will respectively detail officers to examine and report minute regulations for the conduct of these trading posts, which will be submitted for the imperial approval.

Art. VI. The subjects of the two powers, whether at the ports open to foreign trade or at the trading posts, are forbidden to traffic in or transport foreign or native opium or munitions of war. Violations of this provision shall be visited with the utmost severity of the laws. Corean subjects are permitted, under existing regulations, to import red ginseng into China upon payment of an ad valorem duty of fifteen per centum. If subjects of China clandestinely export red ginseng from Corea without the consent of that Government, the merchandise in question shall be liable to seizure and confiscation.

Art. VII. Heretofore the Government post route between the two countries has been by land via Cha Men, and the cost of maintenance has been very great. As the inhibition against intercourse by sea has now been removed, each should be allowed to consult his own convenience and proceed by the sea route. As, however, [Page 176]Corea has neither steam vessels of war or commerce, the northern superintendent of foreign trade will he requested by the King of Corea to appoint for the present one of the vessels of the China Merchants’ Steam Navigation Company to make one round trip between China and Corea each month, for which service a certain subsidy shall be paid by the Corean Government. Chinese vessels of war will also cruise along the coast of Corea and visit the various ports for purposes of observation and protection. All contributions by local authorities to such vessels are done away with, and all supplies needed for the vessels will be purchased and paid for by their officers. The officers of such vessels, from the chief of squadron down, will correspond with the local authorities upon terms of equality and shall be treated with all due consideration.

The crews of vessels of war shall be kept under strict control by their officers, when they are permitted to land, and not be allowed to molest the inhabitants nor to create disturbances.

Art. VIII. The brief and general regulations as fixed herein shall in the first instance be put into operation in all things stipulated herein, and shall be faithfully observed and kept by the officers and people of the two contracting powers.

Hereafter such additions or alterations as may be necessary will be from time to time discussed by the northern superintendent of foreign trade and the King of Corea, and, when agreed to, will be submitted to His Imperial Majesty for his approval.

Concluded by Chon Fu, customs intendant, &c.; Ma Chi en Chung, expectant intendant, superintended by his excellency, Li, &c., &c., on the part of China; and Chao Ning Hsia, senior envoy; Chin Hung Chi, junior envoy; Yü Yun Chung, secretary, on the part of Corea.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 85.—Extract.]

Commercial regulations between China and Corea.

(Memorandum.)

The Chinese text, from which the foregoing translation was made, was obtained by me indirectly, but was submitted to certain ministers of the foreign office, and pronounced by them to be correct.

As the treaties made by the United States, Great Britain and Germany with Corea are identical in terms, the last two named being merely copies of the first, the comparisons herein made between our treaty with Corea and the Chinese commercial regulations will apply with equal accuracy to the English and German treaties.

If the first sentence in the preamble to these regulations be kept in mind, and the statement that the canons of official intercourse between Corea and China are fixed, be accepted as a fact, as it doubtless is, and it be further borne in mind that the business of negotiating these regulations was carried on in careful conformity to these canons, then much valuable light is thrown upon the question as to the exact relations which exist between the two Governments concerned. Thus the preamble contains no declaration that the King of Corea acted either in his sovereign right, or even of his own option, in the appointment of envoys to negotiate these regulations. And what is far more important and significant, no provision or stipulation is contained anywhere in them for their ratification or rejection by the King. On the contrary, Article VIII provides that the regulations shall go into effect at once, and that in the future desirable amendments or alterations shall be discussed between the Chinese northern superintendent of foreign trade and the King of Corea, acting as equals, and that their conclusions shall be submitted to the Emperor of China, to be approved or rejected by him alone.

The natural inference from this provision, and from the general drift and tenor of the regulations as a whole, would seem to be that His Majesty the Emperor directed his excellency Li and the King of Corea to prepare a series of commercial regulations; that these two high authorities delegated this duty to certain subordinates, and that here the power or authority of the King ended; while, as all the negotiations were conducted at Tien-Tsin, his excellency Li practically superintended and controlled not only the action of his own delegates, but of the Corean delegates as well. There is nothing to show that the King of Corea had either voice or independent control in the business beyond the nominal right to name his substitute.

Articles I, V, VII, and VIII provide that in all negotiations connected with the enforcement of these regulations the Chinese northern superintendent of foreign trade is to correspond upon a footing of equality with the King of Corea. The Chinese text of the articles named shows this beyond the possibility of question. If further proof of this fact were needed, it is found in Article I, in which it is provided that the King of Corea, on his part, shall appoint an envoy and commercial agents to [Page 177]China, and that Chinese commercial agents shall be accredited to the Corean Government, not by the Emperor of China, but by the northern superintendent of foreign trade. Thus, on the part of China, the appointment of commercial agents, or consuls, as we should call them, a prerogative usually reserved to the supreme authority itself, is relegated to a local officer. In other words, these agents are to be appointees of an appointee of the Emperor, and one who, though of high rank, may he removed with or without cause or reason assigned, at the whim of his master.

Article I further provides that the Corean envoy, who is to reside not at Peking, but at Tien-Tsin, shall rank with an intendant of circuit. And this officer, by the various treaties between China and foreign powers, is made equal in rank with a consul. [See Article X of our treaty of Tien-Tsin, and similar articles in other treaties.]

Article I of these regulations also provides that the Corean envoy may be allowed to address either the northern or southern superintendents of foreign trade only as an inferior addresses his superior. This is incontestably shown by the Chinese text. Thus the Corean envoy to China, or more properly to Tien Tsin, would appear to rank with a consul, or, at the utmost, with a consul-general.

* * * * * * *

Recurring now for a moment to the point already made that these regulations reduce the King of Corea to a level with the Chinese superintendent of foreign trade, it should be added, in order to avoid misapprehension, that this cannot be fairly held to mean an absolute equality of rank or authority. Within certain well-defined limits officials of different rank correspond upon a basis of equality in China. Thus high ministers of state, members of the privy council, correspond upon such a footing with viceroys and even governors of provinces; and what is more to the point, his excellency Li, the northern superintendent of trade, corresponds upon a basis of equality with his imperial highness Prince Kung, who is practically the present head of the Government.

All that is intended to be maintained is that, by these regulations, the head of the Government of Corea is reduced, so far as all official intercourse is concerned, to a level with an appointee of the head of the Government of China. As stated above, these facts throw much valuable light upon the question of the exact relation which exists between China and Corea, and they also raise certain intricate questions which must be determined by our Government in case our treaty with Corea is put into operation, some of which I beg to suggest.

  • First. If, for purposes of international intercourse, the King of Corea is held as the equal of a Chinese minister of state, what is to be regarded as the status of the President of the United States vis-à-vis the King of Corea?
  • Second. What is to be the basis of official relationship between the diplomatic and consular representatives of the United States in China and the Corean envoy and commercial agents?
  • Third. What is to be the basis of official relationship between the diplomatic and consular representatives of the United States in Corea, and the Chinese commercial agents to that country appointed by the northern superintendent of trade?

The last clause of the preamble to the commercial regulations, in which it is declared that they are to be regarded as so many concessions on the part of China, “and are not within the scope of the favored nation rule” existing between “the several treaty powers and China,” is interesting and might almost be called amusing. As there are absolutely no concessions to Corea found in these regulations which are not already existing in each or all of the treaties between China and the western powers (the recognition of the right of Coreans to trade in Peking excepted), it is quite apparent that this clause was inserted by his excellency Li, under the mistaken idea that it would serve to prevent the application of the “favored nation rule,” as found in the recent treaties between the United States, England and Germany on the one hand, and Corea on the other, to the concessions found in these commercial regulations as made by Corea to China, which have not been made by Corea to the three powers named above; and thus to secure to Chinese subjects the exclusive monopoly of certain rights and privileges in Corea. What these rights and privileges are, and their value and importance, will be pointed out in detail further on. It is manifest, without argument, that the clause in question cannot in any sense serve the purpose for which it was intended, and that, so far as the United States are concerned, it can have value only as, and to the extent that, our Government may see fit to recognize it.

Article II of these regulations determines a system of judicial procedure, in all cases in which Chinese in Corea or Coreans in China are concerned. Cases in Corea in which Chinese subjects are alone interested are heard by Chinese authorities; those in which Coreans are plaintiffs and Chinese are defendants are also heard by the Chinese authorities; and those in which Chinese are plaintiffs and Coreans are defendants are heard by the Chinese and Corean authorities sitting as judges, with conjoint [Page 178]and equal powers. Coreans in China are relegated to the exclusive jurisdiction of the local (Chinese) authorities, the Corean commercial agents having only the right to ask a new trial.

Thus China refuses exterritorial jurisdiction to Corea over Corean subjects in China, and assumes it to an extent never claimed by western powers in this Empire, over her own subjects within Corean territories.

The special interest we may feel in this fact centers in the conclusive answer it affords us to any complaints made in future by China as to the injustice of the exterritorial system as maintained by us here. And a more positive and absolute answer would be hard to find.

While it is true that this article gives to Chinese officials a wider range of exterritorial jurisdiction in Corea than is conceded to United States officers in the same country by Article IV of bur treaty with Corea, it would not, in my opinion, be advisable for Our Government to seek any modification of the stipulations in our treaty upon this point. Our experience for the past forty years in China has plainly shown that the system of joint tribunals unprovided with any common code of laws or judicial procedure, and in which each magistrate must be guided solely by the statutes and regulations of his own country, has entirely failed to work to the satisfaction of either Government concerned. The system embodied in Article IV of our treaty with Corea has been found by universal experience in China to produce” much more satisfactory results, and is now accepted by all the powers having treaties with, this Empire. The pro visions of Article III of these commercial regulations relative to vessels in distress and shipwrecks are substantially identical with the stipulations of Article III of our treaty, and need no comment.

It now remains to compare the commercial rights and privileges granted by these regulations to the subjects of either power, with those granted by treaty to subjects or citizens of other nations in either China or Corea; and more particularly to contrast privileges granted to Chinese in Corea with those granted by ouxtreatv to citizens of the United States in the Corean Kingdom.

The commercial concessions to Coreans in China are easily enumerated. The ancient right of Corean merchants to trade in Peking is reamrmed. JBut it should be stated tbat this right is very closely restricted. It does not permit them to establish themselves permanently as merchants here, nor even to open shops or warehouses for a single day. All it amounts to is this: whenever the, King of Corea sends an embassy of any sort to the Emperor of China, Corean merchantsare allowed to corne to Peking in the train of such embassy. They can either sell their wares at wholesale to Chinese dealers, or peddle them in person about the streets. And within three days after the departure of any embassy, on its return to Séoul, all the merchants who came in its train are required to close their, business and leave this city. In return for this very meager and questionable advantage, Chinese subjects are permitted by Article IV. of these regulations to open warehouses and establish themselves permanently as merchants at Yang-Hua-Chen and Han Cleng, which are the west and east suburbs of the city of Séoul. Corean subjects are also allowed to frequent two trading posts established in Mancliuria near the Corean border, at Chamen and Huci Chun. And as equivalent to this privilege Chinese subjects are permitted to frequent two trading posts established at Icho and Huci King in Corea.

As to other trade privileges in China, Corean subjects are placed at a disadvantage by these regulations even as compared with other foreigners in the Empire. Thus, by Article IV, they are forbidden to transport foreign or native produce to the interior under any terms, and can only bring native produce from the interior to a port upon payment of all local taxes and lekin. These two privileges are not only granted to all foreign merchants in China, but they can also commute the inland taxes and lekin by the use of transit passes. It is true, indeed, that by this same article Chinese merchants cannot take their wares to the interior of Corea, with the exception of course of the two suburbs of Séoul and the trading posts already mentioned. But it must be borne in mind that there are neither inland taxes nor lekin in Corea. Hence, while Corean subjects can only bring native produce from the interior of China at a disadvantage, even as compared with foreign merchants, since the use, of transit passes is denied them, Chinese can go at pleasure to any point in the interior of Corea and bring native produce therefrom free from any duties or charges whatever save the export duty of five per centum ad valorem Thus, it is manifest that under the terms of these regulations, the lion’s share of the benefits of commercial intercourse between China and Corea will fall to the Chinese. And, as though this were not enough, by Article VII, the Corean Government is required to subsidize a Chinese steamship line, by means of the vessels of which this intercourse will be mainly carried on.

To turn now to a particular comparison of the commercial privileges granted by these regulations to Chinese subjects in Corea, with similar privileges granted by our treaty to citizens of the United States in the same country— [Page 179]

  • First. Citizens of the United States are permitted to establish themselves at such of the ports of Corea as are open to foreign trade, and to pursue their various callings and avocations within the limit thereof. These ports are understood to be, though hot specified in the treaty, those open to the Japanese, namely, Fu-San, Ren-Chuan, and Yung Sing. To these is to be added Yang-Hua, which by the convention of August 30; 1882, with Japan, is to be opened within one year to foreign traffic. Chinese subjects are permitted by these regulations to establish themselves and to follow their avocations at all these ports, in addition to this, to reside at the two suburbs of Séoul, and at two trading posts, already mentioned, in the interior of Corea.
  • Second. Private citizens of the United States, are not permitted to travel in the interior of Corea. Chinese subjects are allowed, by Article V of these regulations, to travel freely throughout the Kingdom under passports, which, upon application, are to be issued by the commercial agents and local authorities acting conjointly. Diplomatic and consular representatives of the United States can travel under passport in the interior by virtue of a stipulation of the Japanese convention mentioned; above.
  • Third. Citizens of the United States are forbidden either to transport foreign imp ports to the interior, or to proceed thither to purchase native produce. Chinese subjects are permitted to transport all merchandise of every class to four points named in the interior, two trading posts, and two suburbs of Séoul, and to proceed to any point of the interior, purchase and bring out native produce, paying neither taxes thereon than the export duty.
  • Fourth. Citizens, of the United States, are forbidden to transport native produce from one-open port to another open port. Chinese subjects are allowed to transport this class of merchandise from one open port to another, upon payment at the Second port of one-half-of the export duty; that is to say upon payment of 2½ per cent. ad Valorem.
  • Fifth. Citizens of the United States are required to pay an import duty or 10 per centum or 30 per centum ad Valorem upon all goods imported into Corea, according as such goods fall within one or the other of two general classes. Chinese subjects can import the same articles into Corea, via either of four trading posts, upon payment of, a uniform duty of 5 per centum ad valorem. (See Article V, of the regulations.) As these posts are situated on the banks of two rivers of some size, this discrimination may prove to be of serious importanee.

Article IV of the regulations prescribes that the subjects of China shall pay, in Corea, duties and tonnage dues according to regulations and tariff fixed by the customs authorities, As it is not known whether these are or are not the same as those prescribed in our treaty with Corea, it is impossible to say whether there is or is not a discrimination against our people upon this point.

To summarize, the following privileges are denied to our people and granted to Chinese in our treaties with Corea.

A.
—To reside and trade at four points in the interior.
B.
—To travel in the interior under passport.
C.
— To take foreign produce to four points in the interior, and to proceed to the interior and bring out native produce.
D.
—To transport native produce from one open port to another; and
E.
—A discrimination of ½ in one case and 5/6 in the other to our disadvantage and to the benefit of Chinese importers in the duties on all foreign merchandise imported via certain routes into Corea.

No argument or explanation is needed to show the immense value of the concessions made peculiarly to Chinese merchants and their disaatrous effect upon any attempt made by foreigners of other nationalities to build up commercial enterprises in Corea. With the right to establish themselves permanently at four centers of trade in the interior; to take thither all classes of foreign merchandise for sale; to scour the country from end to end, under the protection of passports, in search of new avenues of trade, and in the purchase of native merchandise either for the open ports or for exports foreign countries; to control the coast trade in native produce, which last they readily do, as other foreigners are shut out from this trade, and Coreans have no steamships—with all these exclusive rights it is easy to see that Chinese merchants, with their keen scent for gain, and free from all danger of successful rivalry or competition, will soon fill Corea like a swarm of locusts, and any attempt to build up American trade with that country will be futile.

Making all due allowance for the imaginary or real rights of Chinese as suzerain of Corea it still remains true that these commercial regulations are greatly one-sided.

* * * * * * *

CHESTER HOLCOMBE.
  1. The Chinese character shows that this communication is to be on terms of equality. [C. H.]
  2. Not as an equal. [C. H.]
  3. Two suburbs of Séoul. [C. H.]