No. 50.
Mr. Denby to Mr. Bayard.

No. 109.]

Sir: I have the honor to forward to you herewith copy of a telegram which I have received from the acting consul-general at Shanghai, stating that he was in receipt of a telegram from our consul at Canton, saying that much excitement prevailed at that place on account of the President of the United States having refused to entertain the claim for indemnity presented by the Chinese minister for losses sustained by Chinese during the recent anti-Chinese riots.

On receipt of the above I addressed a dispatch to the Tsung-li Yamên, requesting them to take the necessary measures for preventing any trouble at Canton. I expressed the horror which I felt at the recent outrages in America, but a repetition of the same thing on the part of the Chinese would neither be a justification nor lead to a solution of the difficulty. I concluded by expressing my confidence that a satisfactory solution of the question would be speedily reached by following the ordinary diplomatic methods. I have not yet received the answer of the Yamên, but I will forward it as soon as it comes to hand.

[Page 78]

Further information received from a private source leads me to believe that the danger of an attack at Canton may have passed. It is difficult, however, to be sure of a peaceful solution of the difficulty, as the population of Canton is the most excitable and troublesome of all of the treaty ports; and in the present case the excitement is kept up by telegrams from the Chinese in America, which are posted throughout the city.

The U. S. S. Monocacy, which has been stationed at Tientsin during the winter, and on board of which I expected to visit the treaty ports, has received orders to proceed at once to Canton, where there is at present only one foreign gunboat stationed.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 109.]

Denby, American Minister, Peking:

Seymour telegraphs excitement increasing Canton. Hong-Kong papers publish telegrams about President refusing entertain claim indemnity, and Viceroy’s telegram Chinese legation Washington intimating reprisals unless indemnity allowed.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 109.]

Mr. Denby to foreign office.

No. 4.]

Your Imperial Highness and Your Excellencies: I have the honor to state that I have received from the consul-general of the United States at Shanghai a telegraphic dispatch, stating that there is great excitement at Canton against Americans, owing to the late outrages in America, and that the Viceroy has telegraphed the Chinese legation at Washington, intimating the intention to inaugurate in China a system of outrage and violence. I trust that this telegram has no real foundation.

I beg leave to represent that outrage and wrong against innocent people do not constitute any answer or justification for other wrongs. While no one regrets more than I do the perpetration of injuries on the Chinese, yet it is plain that this subject should be settled by the proper authorities of the two Governments, and that further violence or outrage will serve simply to complicate such settlement.

As a matter of precaution I request your imperial highness and your excellencies to take proper and immediate steps to quiet the public mind and to prevent any recourse to violence on the part of either the authorities or the people. Two great nations like your honorable country and mine can certainly, with dignity and moderation and by the use of diplomatic methods, settle and arrange all questions that may arise between them.

I have no advices from the United States as to the action of the Government, and I beg leave to express the hope that some satisfactory solution will be found for the present complication, and the traditional friendship between the two nations will not be disturbed.

I have, &c.,