No. 143.
Mr. Denby to Mr. Bayard.

No. 445.]

Sir: In further reply to your dispatch No. 207, of date June 14, 1887, I have the honor to report the conclusions that I have reached touching the “Ward estate claim” against the Chinese Government, and to ask further instructions.

Your dispatch inclosed a copy of Mrs. Amidon’s petition as sole claimant against the Chinese Imperial Government in the matter entitled the “Ward estate claims” (inclosure No. 1); Senate Ex. Doc. 48, Forty-fifth Congress, second session (inclosure No. 2) Senate Report No. 1986, Forty-ninth Congress, second session (inclosure No. 3); a statement of the case, with voluminous exhibits appended, entitled Mr. Glavis to Mr. Bayard (inclosure No. 4).

In your dispatch you state that you explained to Senator Sherman that while the “Ward estate claims” were not separately considered in Ex. Doc. No. 48, Forty-fifth Congress, yet they were distinct from the two others there presented, namely, the “Ward claims” and the claim of Charles E. Hill for the charter of the steamer Keor jeor; that the latter two have been settled, the former by the payment of $56,246.56 in February, 1883, and the latter by a receipt from the Chinese legation, in accordance with the act of Congress approved March 2, 1885. You further stated “that the Ward estate claims were outstanding and that [Page 200] the petition of Mrs. Amidon correctly represented the facts, as the Department understood them.”

You state further “that, as the Chinese Government steadfastly denied the validity of the claims, all efforts to obtain an equitable settlement thereof were rendered fruitless.”

You further call my attention to dispatch No. 74, of March 3, 1881, from Mr. Evarts to my predecessor, Mr. Angell, in which he endeavored to secure an adjustment of these claims after deducting the sum of 42,309 taels, but the result was again unsuccessful. China denied accountability and set off a counter demand against the the Ward estate.

You direct me to give the whole matter a thorough and careful investigation and to furnish you my conclusions “in connection with the papers now sent and the information already in the possession of your (my) legation, or such as you may be able to obtain otherwise, to the end that a final and effectual decision as to these claims may be reached.”

You do me the honor to state that I am at liberty to present this claim to the Imperial Government without further authorization from you. You state that, if my conclusion should be favorable, yet, out of abundant caution, I should prefer to obtain your sanction prior to presenting the claim, I am at liberty to adopt this course.

You further do me the honor to state that it is your “desire to obtain the fullest possible authoritative examination of the subject, and to be guided by your (my) conclusions in the premises based on the inclosed documents and whatever information you may be able to gather from the legation’s archives and elsewhere in China touching the validity of these claims.”

A claim coming to me from you presented in so careful, complete, and peculiarly considerate a maimer demands at my hands, and has to the best of my ability received, the most thorough consideration.

The rule as laid down in Wharton’s International Digest, Volume II, section 213, for the determination of the question whether a diplomatic agent will be authorized to present a claim to a foreign government, is that the claim should be tested as a bill in chancery would be by a general exception for want of equity. But, under your instructions, I am to consider all the evidence bearing on the case that may be found in the archives of this legation or “elsewhere in China.”

Under this broad delegation of authority, I shall present for your consideration a history of this case gathered from all sources. In connection therewith, and as bearing on the solution of the question whether the claim should now be presented by the Government of the United States to the Government of China, I shall call attention to the action of the representatives of our own Government in China on this and the other claims with which this one was involved up to the present time.

history of the ward estate claim.

The general facts connected with this claim are historical. They may be briefly stated as follows:

The entry of General F. T. Ward into the military service of the Imperial Government of China, during the Taeping rebellion, in the winter of 1860–’61; his organization of a corps called the “ever victorious army;” his gallant and meritorious conduct in the field; his being mortally wounded in battle the 21st of September, 1862; his declaration, while his death was imminent, that the Taotai of Shanghai owed him 110,000 taels; the devise of this money by a verbal declaration reduced [Page 201] to writing and attested by two British officers: his death, September 22, 1862.

The instrument mentioned is set out at page 5, Senate Ex. Doc. No. 48 (inclosure No. 2 in dispatch No. 207).

In inclosure No. 4 in your dispatch No. 207 the proof as to admissions of Woo that this was a just debt may be summarized as follows:

Albert L. Freeman, in statement No. 21 (inclosure No. 4), of date April 9, 1864, says:

With reference to the claim of 110,000 taels against Woo (the old Taotai) and in favor of the estate of the late General Frederick T. Ward, I beg leave to say that shortly after the death of the general, and previous to the affairs of the estate coming into my hands, the claim was admitted to be correct to General Burgevine.

But he does not say who made the admission, nor does he state that he heard it.

He says that—

The same acknowledgment was made repeatedly afterwards to me by Taikee, the Government banker, who represented the old Taotai as having fully acknowledged the amount of the claim but that a scarcity of money prevented its immediate payment. A promise was given that it should be paid on the return of the old Taotai from Nanking.

Messrs. Jenkins and Rodgers, in a letter dated April 13, 1864, and addressed to F. G. Ward, of which a copy is found in inclosure No. 4, exhibit No. 25, say:

The claim for 110,000 taels due the estate of your son, the late General Ward, was laid before Messrs.” Woo and Taikee when they met with us to discuss the various claims, and they admitted the same, but stated that they had (or became liable for) a sum of 30,000 taels (or Mex. $30,000, we are at this moment uncertain which) to apply against this amount.

By the dying declaration of General Ward, Admiral Hope and Mr. Burlingame were designated as his executors. They declined to act. With the assent of the creditors, Albert L. Freeman was appointed administrator. He duly qualified.

Before his appointment the following events had transpired, which are described in the letter of Mr. Seward to Mr. Twombley (p. 6, Ex. Doc. No. 48).

General Burgevine had succeeded Ward as commander of the “ever victorious army.” When Burgevine was dismissed from his command he declined at first to acknowledge the right of the Taotai Woo to remove him. Afterwards he left the command but retained three steamers. Woo appealed to Mr. Seward to require Burgevine to give up the steamer Confucius. After consultation with Burgevine it was arranged that the steamer should be delivered under the terms of an agreement which is set out at page 9, Ex. Doc. No. 48. It provided for the payment of all claims which should be awarded by arbitrators, to be appointed, one by Seward and one by Woo, with provision for an umpire in case of disagreement. Under this agreement the Confucius was delivered up and Messrs. H. B. Jenkins and J. Kearney Rodgers were appointed arbitrators to hear and adjudicate all the claims against the Chinese Government growing out of the Ward transactions. One of the first acts of Mr. Freeman, administrator of the Ward estate, was to file before these arbitrators the claim for 110,000 taels.

The award of the arbitrators appears in the record as Exhibit No. 12. It was made at Shanghai, March 3, 1863, and contains the following entry:

Claim 32, Bill 110, 110,000 taels, account of F. T. Ward.

[Page 202]

At page 7, Ex. Doe. No. 48, Mr. Seward sets out at length the reasons why this award was not enforced.

It is unnecessary for me to copy his language here. Woo absolutely refused to pay any of the awards. Finally, on the 13th day of October, 1863, a new agreement of arbitration was made by Seward and Woo. The letter of Seward to Woo, fixing the terms of this arbitration and Woo’s acceptance, are set out at page 10, Ex. Doc. No. 48. I call special attention thereto. Mr. Seward’s proposal contains these words:

Those claims which are declared not just or unsupported shall he dropped by the consul and never brought forward again.

Woo, in his acceptance, claims “that the account of Mr. Benson should be reckoned in connection with that of General Ward, and the dues on account of the former made available in settling the accounts of the latter. There is no reason in our being called on to pay money on account of General Ward first.”

The arbitrators selected were Edward Cunningham and Thomas Hanbury. Mr. Seward (p. 4, Ex. Doc. No. 48) says:

When the second arbitration * * * was agreed upon the claim of the estate was again submitted. I append hereto the decision of the arbitrators (pp. 4 and 5, Ex. Doc. No. 48).

It does not appear by whom the claim was submitted to the arbitrators. Presumably it was done by Mr. Freeman. He was still the administrator of Ward’s estate. Mr. Freeman resigned his trust June, 1864.

With reference to the award (p. 5, Ex. Doe. No. 48), Mr. Seward says:

They found the evidence on either side as submitted to them incomplete and insufficient, and were unable to reach an award.

It may be mentioned here, also, that this new arbitration and award is throughout this record bitterly attacked by the representatives of Ward’s estate.

It is charged that there were verbal protests against the new arbitration before action by the arbitrators. But the record does not thoroughly sustain this charge.

The decision of the arbitrators was made December 26, 1863. The written protest is dated March, 1864, and was not delivered to Mr. Seward until November 14, 1864. At all events, Mr. Seward does not appear to have regarded the determination of the arbitrators as final. He seems to have looked on it as a dismissal without prejudice. We find that, after Mr. Freeman’s resignation as administrator, Seward, in virtue of his general consular authority, continued to act as administrator of the Ward estate until Mr. Twombley was appointed.

Woo paid some of the claims allowed (see p. 13, Ex. Doc. No. 48) and refused to pay the balance.

Seward took steps to procure the report of Henry G. Ward as to the disposition of £40,000 that he had taken to the United States to be used in purchasing ships. But in the meantime, through the instrumentality of Mr. Burlingame, Ying, a former Taotai at Shanghai, had been appointed to take evidence and report at Peking. Upon meeting Ying, Seward found himself in the same condition that Freeman had been in, unable to account for the use of the £40,000 which had been entrusted to Henry G. Ward. Thus the matter had to rest until the accounts of Henry Ward could be had. In May, 1868, John T. Twombley was appointed administrator of Ward’s estate. Henry Ward’s accounts were furnished to Mr. Twombley. These accounts were laid before Woo in June, 1868, but he still refused to pay any sum of money. [Page 203] One of the important questions in this case is to determine what claim, if any, the Chinese Government had against General Ward for moneys advanced during his life-time.

At page 19, Ex. Doc. No. 48, Woo gives his statement of this claim. It will be found in the dispatch of Prince Kung to Mr. Low, dated November 28, 1870. Prince Kung sets forth at length the account given by Woo of all his transactions with Ward.

I quote one paragraph in full:

In March, 1862, the commander of the forces, General Ward, having received orders from the [acting] governor of the province (Sich Huan) to make an attack on Snchan, Chang-Chan, and other places, wished to procure some foreign steamers and various sorts of guns and artillery. Yang and I, on getting the orders, succeeded in raising a loan in various places of 270,000 taels, which General Ward received and sent to the United States, in hills, but, after his death, not a ship or a gun was ever received in Shanghai. Further, the amount of $46,553 owed for arms and ammunition bought in England was never sent forward out of this sum.

Thus it appears that the charge that Ward had received 270,000 taels from the Chinese Government is here specifically described as money “which General Ward received and sent to the United States in bills,” to be used for a specific purpose. The record now presented shows exactly how much money was received by Henry G. Ward for that purpose and what he did with it.

The account of Henry G. Ward adjusted by Jacob R. Telfairs (Exhibit 40) shows a balance of account against Henry G. Ward of 42,309 taels, which the claimant allows as a credit against the amount claimed.

From all the proof it does not appear that General Ward received from Woo 270,000 taels for the purpose specified, but that he received only two installments of £20,000 each. There can be no reasonable doubt that this money was accounted for as claimed by Henry G. Ward.

With regard to the claim of 34,570 taels set up by Woo and Taikee to purchase ammunition, it appears from Freeman’s statement (Exhibit 21) that of this sum 12,000 taels were deposited with Olyphant & Co. to pay for ammunition, and was so applied. The items 5,000 taels and 17,500 taels appear to have been received from Taikee by the general and deposited with H. Fogg & Co., in whose account they appear to the credit of the general, and on the debit side of the same account there are several charges for munitions of war purchased in Shanghai, which would cover the amounts referred to.

The statements made by the claimant, page 5 of her petition, regarding the financial dealings of General Ward with the Chinese Government, I find to be substantially correct.

But the language of Mr. Seward (p. 89, Ex. Doc. No. 48) should be noted, of date April 30, 1877, which is hereinafter set out totidem verbis. The scope of it is that he had seen a Chinese paper which Woo said was a receipt for 270,000 taels signed by Ward.

The action of this legation as to the “Ward estate claim” may be summarized as follows:

May 12, 1864, Mr. Burlingame addressed to Prince Kung a letter giving a full statement of the claim and asking payment. Prince Kung replied that he had authorized Li, governor of Kiangsu, to investigate the matter (Exhibit 26). Mr. Burlingame wrote again, May 30, 1864, to Prince Kung, transmitting a statement of the general’s father (Exhibit 27). July 27, 1864, Mr. Burlingame again addressed the foreign office on the subject (exhibit not numbered). August 11, 1864, Mr. Burlingame again wrote to the foreign office (exhibit not numbered). He requests Prince Kung to order Governor Li to examine only the account [Page 204] mentioned in General Ward’s, will. Prince Kung replies that Governor Li has been ordered to select an officer to examine the accounts.

August 16, 1864, Mr. Burlingame addressed Mr. Seward (Exhibit 31) expressing his “unqualified conclusion that it (the claim) was just” and describing his action thereon.

Mr. Burlingame left Peking in March, 1865, and returned in October, 1866. During this interval nothing was done.

He left China in 1867, having made no further effort to adjust the claim.

Mr. Burlingame’s successor, Mr. Boss Browne, did not take the case up.

Governor Low reached China in March, 1870. His action in connection with the Ward claims is fully set out in Ex. Doc. No. 48. In his letter to Mr. Fish (p. 15, Ex. Doc. No. 48) he says the “Ward estate claim has never been taken up by me officially.”

July 7, 1870 (p. 17, Ex. Doc. No. 48), he addressed Prince Kung in favor of the payment of the sums awarded by the last arbitrators, Cunningham and Hanbury.

Prince Kung in reply (p. 18, Ex. Doc. No. 48) sends a statement of Woo, which is important and has already been quoted.

Governor Low does not appear ever to have presented to the Chinese Government the “Ward estate claim.”

March 5, 1875, Mr. Fish stated to Mr. Avery that the claim of Fogg & Co. was meritorious * * * and “the arbitrators had made an award in favor of the claimants.” Mr. Avery was directed to press this claim (see p. 22, Ex. Doc. No. 48). Nothing appears to have been done by Mr. Avery.

Mr. Seward succeeded Mr. Avery. Under date July, 1876, he wrote to Prince Kung. He says:

These claims were submitted to arbitration at Shanghai and in the month of January, 1864, the arbitrators made their award. The award declared certain of the claims to be just (p. 23, Ex. Doc. No. 48).

Lengthy correspondence follows between Mr. Seward and the foreign office relating to the claims that were awarded but not to the “Ward estate claims.”

In the minute of an interview of Mr. Seward with the foreign office (p. 57, Ex. Doc. No. 48) in presenting the Ward claims Mr. Seward says:

He could not venture to adduce proof as to the merits of individual claims.

They had all been decided upon in 1864 by arbitrators duly appointed, and their award could not be opened.

All through this discussion with the foreign office, Mr. Seward relies on the award (Ex. Doc. No. 48, passim, but particularly pp. 72, 73, 74, 75).

April 30, 1877, Mr. Seward addressed another note to Prince Kung. At page 88, Ex. Doc. No. 48, he makes a lengthy argument in favor of the award, setting up strongly its sanctity. On page 89 he uses the following language:

There is no doubt that General Ward received money with which to buy steamers and munitions of war, neither is there any doubt that Woo held a Chinese paper with a stamp upon it which he said was Ward’s receipt for 270,000 taels. He did show this paper to the arbitrators in my presence. But he entirely failed to show for what purpose this money was given to Ward. As it is well known that about 120,000 taels were given for the purchase of steamers, it was not singular that fehe arbitrators failed to rely upon it as evidence that 270,000 taels were given for the purpose.

He goes on to show that a considerable part of the 120,000 taels was spent in England, He alludes to the accounts of Henry G. Ward, [Page 205] which had been exhibited to Woo. He claims that the claim of Woo against Ward’s estate, or that of Ward’s estate against Woo, has nothing to do with the claims of the seventeen merchants.

This whole statement will throw much light on the merits of this case.

Mr. Seward’s conduct is approved by the Acting Secretary, Seward (p. 92, Ex. Doc. No. 48).

Under date June 7, 1877 (p. 95, Ex. Doc. No. 48), Mr. Seward notifies the Department that he has consented that the Ward claims may be referred to the viceroy at Nanking (p. 95, Ex. Doc. No. 48).

At page 102, Ex. Doc. No. 48, are set out the instructions of Mr. Seward to Mr. Holcombe, to control him at Nanking in reference to the claims to be presented and pressed. He directs Mr. Holcombe to present for allowance at Nanking the claims set out in his letter to Mr. Twombley, of March 22, 1872, which is presented at page 6 of Ex. Doc. No. 48. The “Ward estate claim “is not included in this list. It includes only the claims awarded by the arbitrators.

The result of the reference to the viceroy at Nanking is set out at page 106 et seq., Ex. Doc. No. 48. The “Ward estate claim” was not set up or presented. Page 120, Ex. Doc. No. 48, Mr. Seward reports to the Secretary the result of the Nanking reference.

Mr. Evarts, in dispatch No. 203, date November 26, 1877, writes to Mr. Seward that Mr. Twombley has been urging “the necessity of having the Ward estate claim pushed, * * * alleging what appears to be a plausible reason for such action, namely, that should it be omitted from any settlement now made it will prove very difficult to secure for it any future consideration from the Chinese Yamên.” (See p. 136, Ex. Doc No. 48.)

Mr. Seward is directed to give this matter consideration.

In dispatch No. 399, of February 7, 1878, Mr. Seward replies to Mr. Evarts’ dispatch No. 203. He states that he has not taken up the Ward claim for the reason “that the transactions out of which it originated may be considered, perhaps, to have been of a private nature, and to involve the responsibility of the* * * Chinese official Woo Taotai, rather than the Chinese Government.”

He intimates that the evidence is not conclusive. He prognosticates failure, which he says would produce bad results, etc.

In dispatch No. 172, of date June 18, 1881, Mr. Angell reports his action on the Ward estate claim. By Department’s dispatch No. 74, dated March 2, 1881, he had been directed to present it again to the Chinese Government. The dispatch informed him that the heirs proposed to deduct 42,309 taels from the amount claimed. He was to demand 67,691 taels, with interest from March 3, 1863, being the date of the first arbitration. He says:

I made a thorough examination of the voluminous papers in our archives on the subject. I rose from that examination so impressed with the weakness of the claim as it was left by former negotiations that, had the Department’s instruction left any room for me to act according to my own judgment, I should not have presented it.

He further considered that if any better showing could be made it might be well to present it and prevent its lapsing by neglect. He gives a history of the claim, and concludes that no very strong argument can be based on the fact that the first commission sustained the claim. He assumes from Mr. Seward’s statement (p. 4, Ex. Doc. No. 48) that Henry G. Ward’s account had been rendered, but he says that it seems from Prince Kung’s reply that the Chinese had not seen it.

Mr. Angell incloses in this dispatch his dispatch to the foreign office and their answer.

[Page 206]

In Prince Kung’s reply you will notice the very ingenious manner in which Woo’s admissions are avoided. Ward demanded 20,000 taels for each of five cities captured and when Ching was recaptured he asked for 10,000 more. Woo said, “Wait until we have a succession of military successes and we will abundantly recommend your services.” And this, Prince Kung ayers, is all the foundation of the Ward estate claim.

The Prince argues with great strength that Ward expressed a hope “and not a recognized obligation.”

He goes over the whole case. His paper should be read in order to understand thoroughly the Chinese position on this claim. He states strongly that when Mr. Seward “was promoted minister, in his frequent consultations with this office on the Ward and Keor jeor claims, he never referred to the Ward estate claim as one that needed to be settled separately.”

During Mr. Angell’s time nothing was done with this claim.

In Mr. Angell’s dispatch No. 202, of date August 18, 1881, he recites another effort to secure the payment of the Hill and Ward claims, but it had no reference to the “Ward estate claim.”

In Legation Archives, volume 34, Consulate Records, Shanghai, Seward, 1861–1863, appears a statement of the Ward estate claim, prepared by Frederick G. Ward, which is very full and complete. This statement accompanied the petition of F. G. Ward to the Chinese Government. It effectually disposes of the statement that the Chinese Government did not have before it the accounts of Henry Ward relating to the purchase of steamers in New York. The account presented, as set out at page 751 of this volume, is literally copied by me:

Taotai Woo to General Ward’s estate, September 22, 1862.


To amount due at General Ward’s death, admitted by Woo and which he promised to pay 110,000.00
To interest from date to June 21, 1864 23,175.00
To amount due H. Fogg & Co., for supplies furnished to the army, about. 20,000.00
To interest to June 21, 1864, 21 months, at 12 per cent 4,200.00
Total 157,375.00


1863. By net proceeds of sale of steamers in the United States $90,170.43, American currency, exchange 150per cent 41,621.28
Interest to June, 1864, 10 months, at 12 per cent 4,161.00

Then follows a statement of the claim against Taikee. Attached to this statement are the following papers: Admiral Hope to F. G. Ward, June 20, 1864; Freeman to Hope; a copy of the general’s will; memorandum of the general’s cash account down to June 7, 1864; memorandum of disbursements of Ward while in command of the Chinese Imperial forces; account of W. H. Fogg & Co.; Taikee’s account; Freeman’s letter to Seward of April 8, 1864; list of claims against the Chinese Government allowed by Rodgers and Jenkins; letter of said arbitrators to Seward announcing their finding; letter of Jenkins and Rodgers to F. Ward, April 13, 1864, containing statement of Woo’s admissions; Major Cook’s affidavit; Twombley’s affidavit; instructions of Tsung li Yamen to Ying; protest of Frederick G. Ward against the action of [Page 207] Hanbury and Cunningham, not dated, but showing on its face that it was after the award 5 letter of Henry G. Ward to. Frederick G. Ward, May 24, 1864; letter from same to same, same date; petition of Frederick G. Ward to the Chinese Government, going over the whole case.

The action of my immediate predecessor with regard to the Ward claims is fully reported in No, 167, Mr. Young to Mr. Frelinghuysen, of date March 22, 1883.

Mr. Young had succeeded in having the Ward claims and the Hill claim referred to the Viceroy Li Hung Chang at Tientsin.

In dispatch 102, of date January 13, 1883, Mr. Young gives a copy of his confidential instructions to Mr. Holcombe. It will be seen that no allusion was made to the Ward estate claim.

Mr. Young reports the settlement reached by Mr. Holcombe and the payment by the viceroy of $52,246.56. He says: “This payment is a settlement in full of what are known as the ‘Ward claims,’ principal and interest at 9 per cent.” The Hill claim was not settled, but the record shows that Hill did not waive, nor did the minister, any of his rights. Mr. Young says he was anxious to settle these claims, because the existence of the controversy was an embarrassment in our relations with China.”

In his report to Mr. Young of his acts at Tientsin, Mr. Holcombe says:

I first acknowledged receipt in full, principal and interest, of all demands of citizens of the United States on account of the so-called Ward claims.

He further says:

Both of these last-named officials (the viceroys at Nanking and Tientsin) argued against the abstract validity of the claims, but proposed payment on the ground of the arbitrator’s award and their friendly feeling towards the United States.

It is to be noticed, as Mr. Holcombe explains, that the Hill claim was rejected by the last arbitrators simply because it was not covered by the articles of arbitration, not being against Woo Taotai. Woo Taotai was in no wise responsible for the Hill claim. It was, therefore, not considered by the arbitrators. Mr. Holcombe claims, also, that the second arbitration was a mistake. But the fact that the Hill claim had been submitted to the arbitrators was forcibly used by the viceroy:

Li maintained that his action was beyond question; that he paid the Ward claims because the arbitrators declared they were justly due, and refused to pay the Keor jeor claim because the same arbitrators said it ought not to be paid.

Still Mr. Holcombe thinks that the fact of there being a surplus in our hands of the “Chinese indemnity fund” operated strongly on the mind of Li in refusing to pay the Hill claim.

In the memorandum of Mr. Holcombe it will be seen that he bases his claim for payment distinctly and solely on the award. Thus, “as the arbitrators decided that these claims should be paid in February, 1864, without interest, none is claimed on them prior to March 1, 1864.”

The receipt given by Holcombe to Li is set out as inclosure 17 to Mr. Young’s dispatch 167. It contains this language:

Received * * * the sum of * * * in full and final payment of all demands against the Government of China held by certain citizens of the United States, and commonly known as the Ward claims, the aforesaid amount being composed of an unpaid balance of an award in arbitration made by Messrs. Edward Cunningham and Thomas Hanbury upon the 18th of January, A. D. 1864. * * *

Of date February 22, 1883 (inclosure 18, No. 167), Holcombe writes to Li that he has received his communication stating that—

You are prepared to pay in full, principal and interest, the balance of the same declared to be due and owing in the Ward claims by the arbitrators; Messrs, Cunningham and Hanbury.

[Page 208]

Inclosure 2 in dispatch No. 167 is a letter of Mr. Young to Li Hung Chang, of dateMarcb 10, 1883, in which he thanks his excellency for the “prompt and handsome manner in which he disposed of that longstanding question,” etc.

It does not appear that anything has been done in the Ward estate claim since 1881.

The only other matter of any interest to be found in the archives is Mr. Young’s letter to Mr. Twombley, of date November 26, 1883.

I quote the following:

The Department of State simply acknowledged the dispatch of Mr. Angell, in which he expressed a strong disapproval of the validity of the claim (the Ward estate claim). Nor, so far as I can discover, has there been any instruction or suggestion from the Department directing the legation to pursue the claim. The only conclusion I can form is that the Department accepts the judgment of my predecessors, and has not deemed it wise to continue the discussion.

He says further:

I do not find in the archives that you or any one concerned in the Ward claims showed the least interest in an affair which belonged to you and your co-beneficiaries alone.

For fear that it may be imagined that I have overlooked it, I abstract what is stated in the record about the “salt monopoly.” In an affidavit made by H. N. Twombley August 16, 1863, he says that General Ward told him on several occasions that he had interest in the Government salt monopoly; that said interest was in the hands of Taikee, of Shanghai; that the value of the same was 100,000 taels. (Exhibit 22.)

Henry G. Ward, in an affidavit made August 18, 1863, says that his brother, General Frederick T. Ward, frequently said that he was the owner to the extent of 100,000 taels in the Government salt monopoly, and that he purchased the same through Taikee, and said also that he had deposited with Taikee a further sum of, “say, 50,000 taels, to be similarly invested.” (Exhibit 22.)

remarks and conclusions.

This claim rests primarily upon the declaration of General Ward: “The Taotai of Shanghai owes me 110,000 taels.”

For obvious reasons I do not regard this statement as furnishing a cause of action either against Woo or the Imperial Government. Tested by the rules of evidence, the statement of a decedent is not admissible in an action by the administrator. Tested by the circumstances surrounding Ward, and by the proven fact that Taikee did not owe him anything, the declaration can not be taken as accurate.

No paper, account, or voucher has ever been found which furnishes a basis for this claim. I do not see that the claim, which is based on hearsay, that General Ward had invested 100,000 taels or 150,000 taels in a salt monoply has any connection with the alleged debt. Besides, an accurate examination of his accounts has failed to bring to light the least foundation for this claim. The case rests nowhere except on the alleged admissions of Woo. Admissions are the weakest species of proof if uncorroborated by facts. The debt being characterized as Woo’s debt, and the admissions being general and unexplained, it is questionable whether they bind the Chinese Government.

I append hereto, as inclosure 1, a copy in full of a letter of Mr. George F. Seward to Mr. Burlingame of date September 8, 1864, which is found in legation archives, volume 34, consulate records, Shanghai, [Page 209] Seward, page 897, et. seq. I make it a part of this dispatch because it is not likely that there is a copy thereof in the archives of the State Department. It is a complete history of the Ward estate claim, given by a person who was better acquainted with all the facts than any other person, and who, by his nationality and his official position, must be regarded as friendly to the claimant.

He speaks of the admission of Woo as “supposed admission.” He explains the peculiarity of the Chinesein stating mutual accounts. He shows the utter impossibility that General Ward in two and a half years, during the whole of which time he was engaged in fighting, could have amassed the half million of dollars claimed by his estate after his death. He dwells on the fact that there were arrears due to numerous merchants. He shows how the claim throughout is based on hearsay statements. But his letter must be read in full to get a correct understanding of it, and it is needless to attempt to furnish an abstract of it.

It is not for me to decide whether or not it was a mistake to set aside the first award. Certainly it was unfortunate for the claimant. If the first award had stood, the allowance to the estate might possibly have been collected. Woo got the benefit of two elements of consideration for his agreement to submit to arbitration: the surrender of the steamer Confucius and the departure of Burgevine.

But he refused to be bound by the first award. He refused just as strenuously to be bound by the second award.

Consul General Seward and Woo, on the 13th day of October, 1863, entered into new articles of arbitration. The new arbitrators were two of the foremost business men in China. They found “that the only safe conclusion is that neither party substantiates a claim on the other, and that matters should be allowed to remain as they stand; the claims oil-setting each other.”

This is undoubtedly a good award. In his letter to Twombley (p. 8, Ex. Doc. No 48) Mr. Seward says:

This agreement superseded the former one, and henceforward I could claim underit only.

Whether Mr. Seward had the power to agree to a new arbitration or not is not very important. His powers as consul over decedents’ estates were considerable. But no formal protest was made against his action until long after the event. The Ward estate claim was submitted to the arbitrators presumably by the administrators. It is too late to object to the jurisdiction. If Woo had promptly accepted the award and abided by it, the Ward estate claim would have been forever adjudicated.

But Woo repudiated a large part of the award, and paid such debts only as he thought just, irrespective of the awards.

It was competent, therefore, for the Ward state also to repudiate the award.

No insuperable bar to the prosecution of the claim by the Department of State arose until 1883, when the money due on the award was paid by China. If it be conceded that the original claim is not substantiated by sufficient proof to warrant its being again presented to China, which is clearly my opinion, the question of the validity of the alleged counterclaim becomes immaterial. But I think it best to give my views thereon.

The claim of the debt from Ward to the Chinese Government rests oil the declaration of Woo, and the exhibition of a paper, in Chinese, purporting to be a receipt from Ward for 270,000 taels. No copy or translation [Page 210] of this paper was preserved. We know little about it. But Woo says that the money received “was sent to the United States in bills.” If this be true, it was honestly accounted for. There is no doubt, I think, that H. G. Ward’s accounts as rendered are accurate and honest.

The following circumstances all sustain this view: The contract made for ships; the inability to complete it for want of money; the demand for more money; the failure to get it; the sale of the ships. By these accounts it is shown that the estate received and retains 42,309 taels of money furnished by Woo.

But as China denied the validity of the original claim it did not matter that Henry G. Ward’s transactions were explained. It must be noted that Woo saw these accounts in 1868.

The Chinese contend that as the estate has received 42,309 taels and the Imperial Government has awarded divers posthumous honors to the general nothing more is due. Whether the national debt of gratitude has been discharged hardly enters into the elements of consideration on this occasion. It is not to be presumed that the Government of the United States will make sentiment a basis of a claim against another nation.

But, in an official point of view, taking our relations and past dealings with China into account, it seems to me that, even if this claim were strong and not weak as it undoubtedly is, it would not comport with our dignity, and hardly with fair dealing, to take it up again.

A review, as set out, of the facts will sustain this opinion.

My predecessors, except Mr. Burlingame, have relied exclusively upon the last award.

Since Mr. Evarts wrote to Mr. Angell to present the “Ward estate claim” six years have elapsed. The “Ward claims “were then unpaid. At that time China still refused to be bound by the award, and, for that reason, it was permissible to push the “Ward estate claim “irrespective of the award.

But in 3883 China acknowledged, not the justice of the award, but its binding effect, and paid the sums awarded with interest at 9 per cent, from the time fixed for payment. It is not equitable for one nation in dealing with another to dispute the validity of an award after it has received the fruits of other parts thereof. It is like blowing hot and cold, as the lawyers say. The whole conduct of the negotiations at Tientsin and the final receipt for money paid on the award constitute a strong ratification of the last award. The repayment to China of the residue of the “Canton indemnity Fund” after deducting, without any recognition of this claim, Hill’s claim, constitutes another link in the chain of events which operate against the proposition to re open this claim.

I do not undertake to define the distinction between presenting a claim officially and unofficially. The recognized medium of communication between the Imperial Government and the outer world, under the treaties, is the diplomatic agent. If he specifies that he acts unofficially, little or no attention will be paid to him by the Imperial Government.

The claim, in my opinion, does not rest on a basis sufficient to warrant its presentation in any form.

It is just to the memory of General Ward to say that I have reached the conclusions above set out without any process of reasoning which casts any shadow of obloquy on this remarkable man.

That he believed in the justice of his claim; that some moral foundation existed for it in the statement of Woo, that when they had a succession [Page 211] of military successes “we will abundantly recommend your services;” that if he had lived he would have been rewarded in a great degree 5 that if he had a legal claim there was no sufficient offset against it, are facts that may be deduced from the record.

Desiring simply and without any pride of opinion to present all the aspects of the case, I concede that there are inconsistencies in Woo’s conduct and declarations hard to reconcile. At one time he claims as due him 30,000 taels, or dollars; at another, 270,000 taels.

If the original case were firm and strong I would have no difficulty in coming to a different conclusion but, unfortunately, there is no basis for it except the alleged admissions of this inconsistent witness.

While, therefore, these and other considerations, which will occur to you, remove from the case all reproach against those persons who have from time to time prosecuted this case and from the present petitioner, there are not, in my view, sufficient grounds for the renewal of this claim.

Lest you should think that this case should have been argued more in extenso by me, I beg leave to state that I have intentionally avoided making a legal argument. I am sure that your own judgment and learning will supply reasoning, legal or otherwise, better than I can make. I am sure also that you will give to all the suggestions made, full consideration. I have only to state in conclusion that in the discharge of the duties of my position my sole desire is to execute your directions, and that they will be most cheerfully and implicitly obeyed.

I have, etc.

Charles Denby.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 445.]

Mr. Seward to Mr. Burlingame.

My Dear Mr. Burlingame: Your semi-official open letter, dated 16th ultimo, was handed me by Mr. Ward on the 5th instant. As the matter is important I hasten to reply.

The general intent of the letter troubles me somewhat, since it is in fact an expression of your disapproval of the manner in which I have handled the Ward estate.

Without entering at once into the question of the feasibility of the course determined upon by you, I propose to recapitulate in the briefest manner the incidents of General Ward’s history in China, and of the management of the estate.

General Ward arrived in Shanghai as officer of the ship Matilda, on or about the 20th of April, 1860. His previous history had been an erratic one and embraced experiences upon the ocean and those schools of adventures, Texas and Nicaragua, He soon found employment in taking charge of a body of 20 or 30 Manilla marines, then being organized by Gough, a sort of commodore of the Chinese fleet.

Ward found favor with the Taotai Woo, a man of acute mind and large experience, and with Takee, a merchant who had amassed by various means a large fortune. The Manilla force grew into a large body of foreign vagabonds, who, under the influence of Ward’s dash and of his sternness, achieved some successes, but they were too expensive and too unreliable as a force. Ward sorted out the better men and with these as officers organized the body of natives who have since become famous as Ward’s “ever victorious army.”

Ward then achieved a series of victories which promised to stem the current of the rebellion. He fought indomitably, alike indifferent to the dangers of the field and of the climate. We all remember that in the terrible summer of 1862 he was as active as if fighting under the bracing atmosphere of a purer climate.

Finally the last scene was enacted near Ningpo on the 21st of September, 1862. He fell while directing an attack upon Tsikee, a strongly walled city.

For more than twenty-four hours he lingered in much pain. He was still clear in mind so far as one can judge. By his request a few words were taken down as follows:

“The Taotai of Shanghai owes me 110,000 taels. The Takee also owes me 30,000 taels, a total of 146,000 taels.

[Page 212]

“I wish my wife to have 50,000 taels, and all that remains to be between my brother and sisters.

“I wish Admiral Sir James Hope and Mr. Burlingame to be my executors.”

When the messenger, Captain Borlase, announced to me the death of General Ward you had already proceeded to Peking.

Admiral Hope was also absent. The dying words I knew of only by report. Such precautions, however, were taken as prudence dictated. By my direction the effects of the deceased were taken in care and his papers sealed and put in a place of safety.

Subsequently, perhaps fifteen days, Admiral Hope arrived. He took some action in the estate, among other things giving to Takee the possession of two steamers— the Martin White, a tug, and the Fah wah, a river steamer, then nearly finished; in both of which Ward was known to be interested. Admiral Hope seems not to have doubted that Takee was also interested in them.

In a short time Admiral Hope, who was about to leave China, handed me an open letter for Mr. Cunningham, then absent, which contained a request that he should act for him in the estate. A copy of the statement made by Ward when dying was inclosed, and mention made of the fact that he (Hope) had recommended to yourself that in your absence I should be empowered to act for you.

Your power of attorney came in due time, Mr. Cunniugham in the meanwhile taking such steps in the custody of the property as was thought advisable.

At this point a difficulty arose. As judge in the probate I did not feel that I could’ well act also as executor in an estate in which many points of dispute were sure to arise: neither could I recognize that either Mr. Cunningham or myself received any very definite authority under the power of attorney.

After consultations with Mr. Cunningham, who was little disposed to act in the estate at all, I called a meeting of those concerned. Mr. Cunningham opened to them the circumstances of the case, and advised the nomination of an administrator. Mr. Freeman’s name was proposed and accepted by all. I accordingly issued to him the necessary authority. Some time elapsed in this way. Then occurred the Burgevine imbroglio. Woo and Takee were pressed for the money due the estate, as named by Ward, and assented that the amounts were correct, but Woo declared that there were counter-claims to a large amount; Takee, that he had paid for the whole of the tug Martin White, and that, as the vessel was join property, one-half of the purchase money should be deducted. When Burgevine was removed the affairs of the ever-victorious forces were in a sad condition. Money was due on this account to a large amount. The claims came in to me, and I thought it my duty to assist in clearing the business up. Woo was degraded, but, after Chinese custom, was directed to settle the outstanding accounts. It was at this time of confusion that the administrator, with my assistance, secured possession from Burgevine of the two steamers. Takee was only too glad to get them from the latter by any means in his power. I may say here that at Shanghai the collection of debts from Chinese has taken the form of diplomatic representation. I knew by experience than it would be better to determine with Woo, if possible, the exact amounts due the claimants, and then, in case payment was withheld, representation might be made in the proper quarter.

By written agreement with Woo, Messrs. Jenkins and Rodgers were determined upon as arbitrators to decide which claims were due and owing. Accounts were handed in by people of all nationalities to an extent of about $350,000. The claim against Woo of 110,000 taels was also put in by the administrators in Ward’s estate.

The arbitrators were engaged six weeks. Woo was furnished with abstracts of accounts and asked to enter his objections. He did not come forward, and finally, wearied with the delay, the arbitrators brought in their report. The claims were passed almost without an exception. Upon the award, I asked payment. Woo insisted that the arbitrators had not done their work; that it was not just to hold that they had. I asked his reason for saying this, but could get nothing satisfactory from him. I accordingly handed the papers to yourself, asking you to interfere to secure payment.

At that time Burgevine was at Peking. You had secured a promise for his re-in-statement. Unwilling to injure Woo, of whom you had a favorable opinion, you said to me, “It will be better to go back to Shanghai and tell Woo how the affair of Burgevine has terminated. He will then see that the best thing he can do will be to pay up and avoid further trouble.”

Burgevine came to Shanghai; the instructions from Peking were different from those we expected had been sent, or else the local authorities considered that the conjuncture was one that called for peculiar action. They refused to receive Burgevine and thus the lesson which Woo learned was quite of a different sort from the one we had expected to profit by. But Woo gradually came forward with his objections to the award. I considered them carefully and finally determined that I should be doing an unnecessary act, and one which I could not defend to myself should I insist longer. I then set to work to collect evidence in regard to the claims, and to sift them by personal communication with the claimants and with Woo. The result was that many [Page 213] claims were entirely ruled out, and on the other hand that Woo assumed many which he had denied at first. He would not, however, pay over the amounts allowed until I should assure him that I would also collect in his favor from Burgevine, and from Burgevine’s quartermaster, Benson, whom he considered defaulters. In all this time the matters of the Ward estate were being discussed.

Finally, perceiving that it was useless to proceed in this manner longer, unwilling to trouble you with a matter with which, from my information, I was more competent to deal, unwilling also to undertake to reclaim through the Chinese officials with whom there was little chance of accomplishing anything except in the wrong direction, I agreed upon a second arbitration in which Mr. Cunningham was named by me and Mr Hanbury by the Taotai.

Three matters were to be laid before them under their submission; the general unpaid claims, the claims of the estate, and the counter-claims against Benson. Burgevine had at this time joined the insurgents. The Taotai agreed to pay whatever the award should call for. I agreed not to press again any claims which they should rule out, and also to do what I could to collect from Benson in case he was adjudged to be a defaulter.

The arbitrators went into the general claims very carefully. The ground to be gone over in regard to them was necessarily quite the same to an extent as that to be gone over in dealing with the matter of the estate.

It is obvious that the relations between Woo and Ward were to be examined most carefully in numerous cases where the decision would simply effect transfer of debt from the one to the other.

The decision was at last rendered; the award on general claims cut down the amount from, say, $500,000 to, say, $61,000. In the matter of the estate there was declared to be not evidence enough to enable the arbitrators to decide either way. The charges against Benson were declared unproven. Woo, upon this award, paid up an amount of about 60 per cent, of the award. For various reasons, I have not as yet urged the payment of the balance.

You will now remember that in May I was at Peking. My visit was short and occupied with a great variety of business. The matters of the estate were, however, talked over at some length. Knowing that Mr. Ward was at the moment en route for the capital (my opinion was that the estate would be better off to let the matter stand, thus keeping what they had), I naturally endeavored to tell my story in a manner which would show you when he should arrive that I had not based my opinion upon ‘ any one-sided consideration of facts. You seemed completely satisfied, and even asked whether Mr. Ward could not in some way be turned back.

I returned to Shanghai, and anxious to close up the estate with a view to be ready at any moment to return to the United States, I endeavored to secure an (adjustment) adjudication upon the still unattempted accounts of Takee and the estate. I wrote to Takee recommending that as he claimed from the estate he should come into court. Without hesitation he appointed Mr. Jenkins to act for him. A regularly drawn petition was entered; a prosecutor chosen and the matter duly brought in for a hearing. At this point the solicitor for the estate had counter-claims, and asked that a bond should be required from Takee to abide the adjudication about to be made. Takee consented to give a bond to an amount of 30,000 taels, with a foreign surety, but preferred to submit the matter to an arbitration. He was naturally suspicious of me for requesting him to come into my court, and for the insisting upon a bond. He would doubtless have refused the bond had I not consented to the arbitration.

The administrator would not make himself a party to the submission. He resigned and I thus became official administrator, and executed the necessary documents. The arbitrators were Messrs. Loureiro and Hayes. They showed their fairness in the outset by agreeing upon Mr. Dixwell, than whom no man in China is more respected as umpire.

You have already seen my argument on behalf of the estate. Indeed, you have, perhaps, been induced by it to take more strongly the ground you now occupy in this matter. I append a copy of the agreement, only remarking that I was acting at the time not as judge, but advocate.

During this time Mr. Ward was still at Peking. You were fully informed of the arbitration. I received no word of dissent from my action from either.

The award was finally entered a few days ago. Since this Mr. Ward has arrived and the whole matter seems again afloat.

You will thus see the general bearings of my action. I will now dwell briefly upon the contents of your letter and the remarks which will follow will indicate my position.

The substance of your letter is that yourself and Dr. Williams have carefully examined the evidence brought forward by Mr. Ward and have come to the unqualified conclusion that the dying statements of the deceased should be accepted as definite and final. You have so represented to the Government, who you say have issued orders that the accounts in relation to certain sums of money sent to New York [Page 214] through General Ward for the purchase of the steamers alone should be deducted. You direct me to forward the audit and to collect from Woo the amount of the difference between the amount so audited and the 110,000 taels. From Takee I presume I am also directed to collect the 30,000 taels. Nothing is said of the very important matters lately at issue between Takee and the estate, in regard to the two steamers Martin White and Fahwah.

It thus seems that the claims of the estate are in your opinion so clear that no argument can be entertained. Upon the point I find myself reluctantly but irreconcilably at issue with you. If it was a simple matter of judgment I should not take up valuable time in argument or hesitate to carry out your wishes. The case stands, however, that I am in possession of facts which have not come before you and which it seems to me proper that you should know before final action is taken.

In the first place it is stated in your letter that your position was “that the dying words of General Ward and the admission of Woo and Takee to various reputable parties and before a legal commission, assented to by both sides, constituted sufficient evidence of the justice of the claim and that the award of the commission after a month’s sitting was an adjudication of the same.”

The dying words of Ward have been given. I believe that they may be satisfactorily explained consistently with the actual facts of the case. I doubt much, however, whether in a court of law, if unexplained, they would stand against evidence produced.

Now, either these dying words are all in all or else they are little. If seriously-invalidated in one point they can hardly stand in another.

They are so invalidated in the case of Takee. Two arbitrators, Mr. Hayes on my part, a person very favorable to the estate, a man of acuteness and the strictest principles, and Mr. Loureiro on the part of Takee, a person of vast business acquaintance, whose success speaks strongly as to his capacity, have gone very carefully into the matters pending, and they offer their report without disagreement. The accounts are still to be made up. The decision, however, offers the explanation of the dying words of Ward and yet finds that the 30,000 taels have vanished into the air. The next step in your position is connected in my argument on the first. You say “the admission of Woo and Takee, etc., constituted sufficient evidence of the justice of the claims.” You do not say what these admissions are, but I infer from your position that your belief is that Woo and Takee acknowledged without reservation the full indebtedness as stated by Ward. Of the admission which Woo did make I will speak afterwards. That of Takee as given by Mr. Freeman, the only witness who has made any statement within my knowledge, is that he asked Takee whether the amount due Ward was the same as the sum mentioned by the latter; Takee answered, “Yes, I owe 30,000 taels, but I paid for the whole of the Martin White. The boat was jointly purchased and the one-half must be deducted from the share of Ward.”

Mr. Freeman is a witness decidedly uncompromising in favor of the estate. The conversation was had soon after the death of General Ward. Just now the arbitrators have examined the whole evidence and they decide from proofs drawn from many quarters that Takee had paid as represented by him in the outset.

As to the whole train of facts leading the arbitrators to their conclusion, I refer you to Mr. Hayes’ statement inclosed. Mr. Dixwell, who had examined the matter to an extent, entirely approves of their judgment.

The 30,000 taels which Ward referred to, as is reasonably put by Mr. Hayes, could only be the deposit with the Tong Tai Bank, made through Takee. I can not but agree with him in saying, “I think it reasonable to suppose that he (Ward) wished to call attention to this deposit and thus avoid the claiming by Takee of the whole of the Martin White.” General Ward’s dying statement thus has its usefulness, but it can not well be taken as an accurate expression of the condition of accounts at the date; this having been the judgment of all who have carefully examined facts on both sides, so far as Takee’s matters are concerned, must lead us to hesitate in regard to the amount named as due from Woo. But there arises the supposed admission of Woo of the amount so claimed. I do not know what evidence you have on the point. I inclose, however, the statement of Messrs. Jenkins and Rodgers, who declare that Woo did not assent to them, at least as represented; he, on the contrary, admitting the general sum, claimed a large counter side.

It may seem peculiar to one not acquainted with the manner in which claims are spoken of by Chinese that Takee and Woo should say “We do owe the sums named,” and then make the contradictory statement, “but he owes us so and so.” This, however, is the Chinese peculiarity. Thus a merchant would declare of such a man, “He owes me 30,000 taels. I owe him 20,000 taels,” instead of striking the balance and saying, “He owes me 10,000 taels.” I inclose Mr. Eames’ statement on this point. Now I come to the matter of the arbitration. I have already stated why I re-opened the matter. I have also given a statement of the sums allowed by the second arbitration. A simple comparision of the amounts must indicate to you that my action was just in setting aside the old arbitration.

[Page 215]

The answer which arises in your mind is that if Woo failed to come forward, as he should have done, on the original arbitration he should be compelled to abide the consequences.

But I must say here again that we must allow for Chinese peculiarities. I know from experience in my own court that a Chinaman is not capable of working his case up. He will come to you and reiterate the fact that “so much is due to him.” It is only by patience and urging that his “proofs can be adduced. If I am not correct in this, should we not still hesitate to receive as accurate an award in an amount of half a million of dollars involving intricate questions, all made in less than six weeks, including time of collection of claims and making translations? I concluded from a very slight knowledge even of some of the arguments and proofs since brought forward that I could not conscientiously insist upon the award as given by Messrs. Jenkins and Rodgers. We have only to note the result of the subsequent investigation made by Messrs. Hanbury and Cunningham of the general claims, and the absence of complaint against their award, except in one instance, to determine that my action was founded upon those principles of justice to all men, which I feel proud to remember have always characterized your conduct, and which in this instance can not but receive your most unhesitating sanction. So much may be said in regard to accounts against Woo.

Turning to Takee’s case, there is little to be said. The matters at issue with him have been submitted to only one arbitration. There is no irregularity in the submission. I was official administrator, and as such had a full right to assent to the arbitration. Considering all circumstances, it was, as I think, my duty to do so, The award was given and there is no irregularity in it. Until this is set aside by judicial action I can not go behind it, except upon the doctrine of might instead of right. Moreover, so far as I am able to judge, there is no legal action which can be taken to overthrow it. But can we without inconsistency let the award with Takee stand and refuse any arbitration at all to Woo? I consider the original award as nothing, and so declared. If I, as the one party to it, and Woo as the other, so agree and determine upon a new investigation, can any one say that the original arbitration was more than nothing? If, then, viewing the matter abstractly, we allow the Takee award to stand, and we can not but do so, we must at least accord Woo the privilege of an arbitration. It comes now to this point: There has been an arbitration with Woo—I refer to the Hanbury-Cunningham arbitration. Shall it stand or not? So far as matters of right go it may be opened. Woo has always declared that he wished it open. I have been of opinion that it would not be wise to open it lest the estate should fare worse.

At the same time I have consented to allow Woo to neglect payment in the general award by the arbitrators, in order that if developments should warrant I might be able to declare that Woo himself had, by neglecting to abide the award, opened the door for a new arbitration. It is feasible to open the matter with Woo, and I confess that it seems to me desirable that this should be done. I may not be able to say that the estate will gain anything, yet it will be better that a definite decision may be given in order that no one may have reason for complaint.

If it be opened I will venture to promise a cordial co-operation with Mr. Ward in trying to impress upon the arbitrators those strong points of evidence which have gone so far in determining your action. If, however, other evidence is produced, which, in a fair view of all circumstances, decides the arbitrators in an award against the estate, you certainly would be the last to say that injustice had been done.

I now note the remarks made by you as to my position as executor. You state that I am the legal executor. Upon this point I would say that no will has been proven, and that consequently there can be no executor. I am simply administrator. That I am legally clothed with the usual powers of an administrator can hardly be doubted.

But is it wise for me to turn the estate over to Mr. Ward? Upon this point I must also inform you of some facts which have not come before you.

There is reported to have been a considerable rupture in Mr. Ward’s family at home. This much is certain, that the only person supposed to be interested in the estate beside Henry Ward, the sister mentioned in the last words of the deceased, refused to give her father the power of attorney asked for by him. Mr. Freeman tells me that Mr. Ward told him that he had written for this. Doubtlessly the sister refers to her father when she states in a letter, an extract from which is inclosed, that she had been requested to give a power of attorney for the settlement of her matters in China, but had refused. Thus of two persons interested one prefers not to place matters in Mr Ward’s hands. Then, again, the custody of the steamers, not wholly the property of the estate, could not well be turned over to a person who, believing himself an heir, would only act with them as his own interest might dictate.

Again, there are several creditors of the estate in Shanghai who, I think, would not see without distrust the property, present and prospective, of the estate turned over to a person who rightfully or wrongfully does not hold a very good reputation, and who by sharp practice might wheedle them out of what they may now expect to get.

[Page 216]

I have thus gone over, inadequately and hurriedly, suggesting rather than arguing, the points contained in your letter. I will dwell a moment upon circumstances which bear upon the whole matter.

Ward, as we have said, was in China only two and a half years. During this period he was busily occupied in organizing a troublesome force, and in the field. His mind was in his work.

I say his mind was in his work. It could not well be that one so ambitious as he was, so busily engaged and so successful in his operations, could be a simple loot-getter.

If it had been so he would have obtained a reputation accordingly. Now, if he was so wrapped up, he would be apt to subordinate other interests to that of his success in the one direction, and this is precisely what his dying words indicate. Takee, the merchant, owed him, to put it as he did, but 30,000 taels. This amount on inspection vanishes, except as a credit item in a transaction of an extensive nature. The only other outstanding credit of a private nature seems to have been his interests in the steamers. The accounts show with these that he had not disbursed so much as his copartner.

But with Woo, the Government, so to speak, he claimed that there was a large sum, and there seems to be reason to believe that this was the case. It stands thus, coupling the above facts with the well-known fact that the Government was hardly pushed for means, that Ward advanced to, or failed to draw from, the Government certain amounts. He could only have been actuated in this by a desire to help along the main object.

Is it now likely that such a man would accumulate a large fortune in the short while he was at work. If he was liberal enough to advance so largely, would he not be also liberal in many ways in which he could not expect a pecuniary return?

But without this argument, the case, as represented by Mr. Ward, is essentially absurd. He has claimed as follows:

From Woo 110,000
From Takee 30,000
Martin White (cost) 41,000
Fahwah (one-half cost) 50,000
House on French Bund 30,000
Salt monopoly 100,000
Total 361,000

Or half a million of dollars.

It is to be noted that the evidence about the salt monopoly is precisely the same kind of evidence on which he relies to prove sole ownership in the Martin White, by statements made by the deceased to various parties. It is to be noted also that no trace of any possible interest in a salt monopoly can be procured. If the matter was in so blind a state, surely Ward, if there was really such an amount, would have spoken of it in his last words.

To a person of General Ward’s temperment, his employment must have been a source of the keenest pleasure. Does any one doubt that, knowing the fame which was in store for him, he would have hesitated upon entering the field even had he known that no pecuniary reward was to be vouchsafed? But, again, where could so much money come from? Cities were being taken, but they were also being retaken. Ward had not found it possible to hold some cities which are within the 30-mile radius. The fact that everything was largely in arrears to shop-keepers, to soldiers, to Ward himself, is evidence enough that half a million of dollars could not so easily have been accumulated by him.

Yet Ward was in the habit of talking largely. Perhaps he deemed it his rôle to do so. His large talk, which every one who was in Shanghai at the time of his prosperity knows of, is, however, the very thing which serves to make it difficult to get at the justice of the case. A sort of halo of the brightest hues surrounds all he did which it is difficult for the eye to penetrate, except when assisted by the smoked glass of judicial examination. This is so evident from the reports concerning his business transactions with Takee, that I must dwell, a moment longer at the risk of utterly wearying you.

Perhaps you have yourself heard something of his reported connection with Takee in silk operations. Takee utterly denies that he ever had any such dealings. There is no evidence of any kind to show it. If there had been, as with the house and the salt monopoly, there should have been some memoranda among his papers. There was nothing of the kind, although many papers were found. The only thing which indicated business transactions was a memorandum of a settlement upon a silk shipment of two or three thousand taels’ value made conjointly with Yakee. (The memorandum was in Ward’s writing. The first letter was formed thus “Y.”) We supposed, until it was explained, that the name was Takee, and thus hoped to show the [Page 217] arbitrators that transactions of a mercantile kind had taken place with Takee, which in his petition he had completely ignored. Of course the attempt failed utterly.

Going back to Takee’s matters, you will notice that the arbitrators advise a sale of the steamers. I do not see how they can be held under the circumstances. I propose to have them advertised as “for sale shortly,” but not to consummate the transaction until I hear from you. The custody of the steamers is expensive, and I have already advanced a considerable amount upon them. Both are laid up. At this point I shall leave the matter. All that I have said—and not all of the available ground has been gone over—has been meant to indicate only that we shall not be dealing with the Chinese concerned in that enlightened manner which will insure us the greatest respect if we persist in ignoring what they have to say. They may weakly give way in-the particular instance, but will it not affect our opportunity for general usefulness?

I have now to acknowledge a letter from you of a later date (August 22) than the one under reply. I note with pleasure your remarks, and beg to say in view of them that I trust that my foregoing statements will not serve to remove that high consideration which you have heretofore accorded me, and of which your last letter is a most pleasing testimonial.

Yours, truly,

Geo. F. Seward.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 445.]
[Extract from A. A. Hayes’s letter to George F. Seward, United States Consul-General.]

Ward’s dying statement that Takee owed him 30,000 taels was utterly unsupported, and taking into consideration a random way in which he habitually spoke of his means, etc., I could not bring myself to accept the theory that when near his end, and in great pain, he was able to make up his accounts in his head and strike an accurate balance, and think it much more likely that he had reference to the 30,000 taels in the Tong Tai Bank, before alluded to. Of this 20,500 taels were paid for half the Martin White. More than the balance is charged on the bank-books as regular payments to Ward’s debit. I think it reasonable to suppose that he wished to call attention to this deposit, and thus avoid the claiming by Takee of the whole of the Martin White.

True copy.

George F. Seward,
United States Consul-General.

[Inclosure 3 in No. 445.]

Messrs. Rodgers and Jenkins to Mr. Ward.

Dear Sir: In answer to your verbal inquiries as to our actions as commissioners appointed to examine into claims against the Chinese Government on account of the Ward corps, we make, as requested, the following statement:

The claim of 110,000 taels due the estate of your son, the late General Ward, was laid before Messrs. Woo and Takee, when they met with us to discuss the various claims, and they admitted the same to be correct, but stated they had paid (or became liable for) a sum of 30,000 taels (or Mex. $30,000, we are at this moment uncertain which), to apply against this amount. They never furnished us with any proof of such payment, but left us under the impression that they admitted the sum of some 80,000 taels to be due to your son’s estate from them on this claim.

Yours, etc.,

  • J. Kearney Rodgers.
  • F. H. B. Jenkins.
[Inclosure 4 in No. 445.]
[Extract of a letter from Elizabeth C. Ward to A. L. Freeman, esq.]

I have not sent a power of attorney to any one, though requested to do so, having full confidence in your ability, and hope that you will continue to act for me until the estate is settled.

True copy.

  • George F. Seward.
  • Albert L. Freeman.

[Page 218]
[Inclosure 5 in No. 445.]

Mr. Eames to Mr. Seward.

Sir: Relative to your statement in a letter to the Hon. Anson Burlingame, that a Chinaman, instead of saying I owe so and so 10,000 taels, would say I owe him 30,000 . taels, he owes me 20,000 taels. I repeat, as I have before stated, this has repeatedly occurred in my practice.

I observed this peculiarity especially in a late case at Ningpo, in which I was engaged, and in which the Chinese defendant persisted in saying that he owed the plaintiff a large sum, at the same time claiming a much larger sum from the plaintiff, although I had endeavored to persuade him to state the balance only. I inclose a letter from Robert Raynor, esq., one of the assessors in the suit referred to, confirming my statement.

I will inclose a letter from the plaintiff in the suit, if received in time, and should you think it important, I have no doubt that further confirmation could be obtained from Mr. Holt, Her British Majesty’s consul at Ningpo.

I have, etc.,

J. B. Eames.
[Inclosure 6 in No. 445.]

Mr. Raynor to Mr. Eames.

My Dear Mr. Eames: In reply to your question regarding the case of Johnson & Co. vs. Ho Amun, in which I was one of the arbitrators, I beg to say that I remember quite distinctly Ho Amun’s admitting his indebtedness to Johnson & Co.’s agent for a certain amount, he at the same time claiming from the same individual as due to him (Ho Amun) an even larger sum.

My own practice in settling accounts with Chinese is almost invariably to tell them, in pigeon English, “first my looksee how much you owe my, then looksee how much my owe you, so fashion, very easy finder that balance.”

I find that the Chinese, at least in dealing with Europeans, seem always to look upon the whole of the debit side of their account with a house as a debit due by them (Chinese), and upon the whole of the credit side as a debit due them, keeping the two, as it were, distinct, until by striking a balance and settling that the matter is arranged.

Yours, very truly,

Robt. Raynor.