Mr. Denby to Mr. Bayard.

No. 723.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a translation of the reply of the Yamên to my communication which was sent to you in my dispatch No. 713 of October 1, relating to the Chi-nan-fu troubles.

The Yamên give an abstract of a note from the governor of Shantung.

The Yamên still professes a willingness to aid the missionaries, but it does not agree to issue the positive orders which I demanded. It repeats its advice that “Rev. Gilbert Reid be easy and complaisant, wait quietly, and not show a hasty temper.”

I have communicated to Mr. Reid the substance of this dispatch, but I have little hope that he will take kindly these appeals to his patience.

I infer that there is not much probability of settling this controversy by securing for the missionaries the land which they desire for hospital purposes within any short period of time. Possibly a general settlement of the various questions pending between the two countries may include this troublesome affair. The only other plan which occurs to me is to go myself, accompanied by the interpreter of the legation, to Chi-nan-fu, or to send him or the second secretary to confer personally with the local authorities. Should you direct this mode of action, I ask authority to draw on you for the expenses of the trip.

I have, etc.,

Charles Denby.
[Page 75]
[Inclosure in No. 723.]

The Tsung-li Yamên to Mr. Denby.

Your Excellency: The prince and ministers have the honor to state in reply that in the case of the missionaries purchasing property at Chi-nan-fu on the 27th of September ultimo they received a communication from your excellency having relation to it and have read all the points submitted therein. The Yamên at the same time also received a note from the governor of Shan-tung to the following effect:

“Since the return of the American missionary to Chi-nan-fu the governor has repeatedly instructed the taotai, prefect, and magistrate without delay to assist the missionaries in managing the matter. But there is no help for it, the city of Chi-nan-fu and suburbs are narrow in extent and the people crowded together; in addition to this, owing to the Yellow River famine during the past succeeding years, the people of the neighboring districts have migrated hither in confused numbers, so that still farther there is no vacant place in the city and suburbs.

“During the years when the provincial examinations are held the students assemble in crowds (and we must) consider that this still more makes house accommodation less with a full population.

“Again, when the people are in numbers there is talk of all sorts, and it is no difficult matter for troubles or disturbances to occur: to act in a hurry is not an easy task.”

In regard to this case the Yamên has repeatedly sent instructions to the said province urging that assistance be rendered to bring about a satisfactory management thereof. The prince and ministers have now received the governor’s reply giving all the circumstances.

At the said place there is a difficulty in taking action in the premises, but it is not that the officials have the intention of evading the performance of their duty.

In a word, there are numbers of Chinese scholars and people who have no faith or belief in the western doctrine of Christianity, and they are unable to regard the missionaries from western countries in the same light or manner as foreign merchants engaged in trade. Trouble frequently happens and the local authorities have difficulty in showing them the right way.

In this matter it is necessary to be indulgent for a while and wait until a suitable opportunity comes to take satisfactory action.

The Yamên will again address the governor of Shan-tung to adopt a plan of action in the hope that the matter may be settled.

The prince and ministers hope that your excellency will instruct the Rev. Gilbert Reid to be easy and complaisant, to wait quietly, and not show a hasty temper.

A necessary communication, etc.