No. 126.
Mr. Denby to Mr. Bayard .

No. 182.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that the Chungking mob is the most serious riot that has occurred in China for many years. I inclose herewith a copy of a letter, which is the fullest account I have seen. It will be seen that the mob destroyed all the property of the American, French, and English missionaries, including that of the Taylor Inland Mission; the missionaries were seriously maltreated; the British consul was nearly killed; all the missionaries left, and are now at Hankow. The disorder has spread to other parts of the province Szê Chúen and may spread to other provinces. * * *

I have instructed Mr. Franklin, at Hankow, to do all he can to assist our missionaries.

It seems that the Chinese Catholics were objects of hostility to the mob, and many lives were lost in an attack on one of them.

One difficulty about questions arising out of these occurrences is that other foreigners claim that they arise from our anti-Chinese troubles at home. I am satisfied that the charge is not strictly true, but that they arise mostly from the French war. The Chinese have been unusually hostile to foreigners since that war terminated. No doubt the riots in the West, vaguely reported in China, contribute to the ill feeling.

No doubt England and France will demand redress and restitution of rights to their people. * * *

I have written to Mr. Franklin to find out and report to me the character and value of the property destroyed, and whether the missionaries will desire to renew operations in Chungking if protection be promised them or whether they will content themselves with demanding damages. * * *

I have, etc.,

Charles Denby.
[Inclosure in No. 182.]

Letter from Mr. Lewis to Mr. Hykes .

Dear Brother Hykes: You will doubtless have heard how this part of the world is turned upside down. On July 1 all missionary property in Chungking was destroyed, as well as the property of Mr. Bourne, the English consular resident. Mr. Bourne had his chair smashed, was hit with stones, and might have lost his life had not the hsien (magistrate) thrown his arms around him, himself receiving blows. A fine Catholic cathedral, just completed, and extensive foreign residences were given to the flames. Our city residences were first looted and then pulled down and carried off piece by piece. One of our sanitarium buildings, just completed, was given to the flames; two, partly finished, were demolished and the wall about the property knocked down. The C. I. M. (China Inland Mission) had two rented places in the city and a partly-built sanitarium in the country; the latter was burned. In the city Mr. Nicoll’s place was torn down about their heads. Mrs. Nicoll, attempting to [Page 160] flee into two houses, was repulsed, afterwards finding a temporary hiding place with a Catholic family. She received a blow on her shoulder knocking her down. Later she got off in a chair to the yamên. Mr. Copp is away on a trip. Mrs. Copp was at their rented place in the country, near where Gamewell and Crews were building, and Mrs. Wood was staying with her. Their place was first entered and looted. Mrs. Copp and Mrs. Wood came with an escort into the city to Wood’s place, from which the mob soon compelled them to flee. Their chairs were knocked to pieces, hut they received no serious injury. Our folks took chairs just as the mob arrived; were separated, Mr. Gameweil getting to the yamên, while the remainder were crowded into a small room at the constable’s for hours, the mob constantly growing more threatening, but not being permitted by God to harm them.

I was over the river building a sanitarium. I heard of themob and started back at sundown. Entering a village, a man coming down some steps banged full might against me, nearly knocking the breath out of me. I pushed him headlong into the gutter and hurried on, took a chair, and reached the city in safety. I ran some risk in passing through well-lighted and crowded streets, but readied a Chinese friend’s house without discovery. There I found Miss Howe’s girls and some Chinese nurses and orphans. Our place, near at hand, was being looted, and the Catholic premises had begun to burn. The neighbors were afraid for their own property, and so prevailed on the mob not to burn ours. I was told the rest had reached the yamên in safety, and so stayed where I was until 2 a.m., when I reached the yamên in safety. Mr. Bourne found refuge at the taotai’s, along with the French priests. It will be a week to-morrow since the riot began, and we are still at the hsien’s yamên. The mob made a clean sweep. Our city property was worth 10,000 taels, and they have only left a few posts standing. They did not steal the well, but emptied it of water and found a piece of silver Dr. Crews had thrown into it. Not a missionary got away with even so much as a change of clothes. The servants and some others saved a few things, which they stored in friends’ houses. Some of this has come in, but it is a very small proportion of our losses.

On the second day the mob began on the native Catholics and threatened the yamên. The taotai had done little or nothing while the foreign property was being destroyed, but now sent out soldiers and got the mob somewhat under. During the last few days the city has been quiet, but the fire has spread into the country.

The Catholics have been attacked and plundered in all directions. Houses have been torn down or burned, and lives lost. A rich Catholic here bought his coffin, hired one or two hundred roughs, and awaited the attack. He was beseiged for two days and nights, and put a score or two under ground, to say nothing about the wounded. One of his men stepped outside, was seized by the crowd, hung up to a tree, and shot full of arrows. The mob was started by the military students who were here for the examinations. They declared they would have this Catholic’s life before they were through, but his coffin is still empty and his place guarded by soldiers. It is said that the whole eastern part of the province is in tumult, but we are unable to learn how true it is. It is as though there had been a sudden belching forth from the infernal regions up here. We shall go down the river if we can. We can not go without escort, and the magistrate can not send us yet. The ladies have borne up wonderfully, but nearly all are in danger of illness. The heat is great, the stench is almost intolerable, and the ladies and children in close quarters. We hope to get off soon. We have been asked for a statement of losses and the Protestants’ loss with Bourne’s exceeds 50,000 taels. The Catholics’ loss in the city alone is said to be between one and two hundred thousand taels. The news of Chinese persecutions in America has much to do with the affair. It is said the Catholics blame us bitterly as the cause of the outbreak.

If you can arrange in your mission to receive a few sorry beggars please drop a line which we may receive in Hankow. Probably five or six of us will want to make a temporary stay with you.

With kindest regards,

Spencer Lewis.