Mr. Denby to Mr. Blaine.

No. 885.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of my communication to the foreign office of the 4th instant, relating to the missionary troubles at Chi-nan-fu.

I inclose also a translation of the reply of the Yamên thereto.

The facts as reported to me by the head of the Presbyterian mission are stated in my communication.

In my dispatch No. 723 of October 6, 1888, I deemed it my duty to suggest to your predecessor that, in the event of all other means failing, [Page 109] it might be well to consider the propriety of my going in person to Chi-nan-fu, or sending a member of this legation, to endeavor to effect a settlement of this troublesome question. Such a trip would be very expensive, and I did not feel authorized to take it unless so directed by the Department, and unless authority were conferred to draw for the necessary funds.

The missionaries agree with me in the opinion that personal intervention at Chi-nan-fu by one in authority offers the only means of securing favorable results. I have no personal desire to incur the fatigue of such a trip, but I am prepared to do so, if some time shall elapse and still nothing be done.

I therefore submit for your consideration the question whether I shall be authorized to go to Chi-nan-fu should all other means fail of success.

It must be remembered that the question of the right of the missionaries to acquire land at Chi-nan-fu has produced great annoyance to our fellow citizens, to the public, and this legation.

I have, etc.,

Charles Denby.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 885.]

Mr. Denby to the Tsung-li Yamên.

Your Highness and your Excellencies:

I have the honor to inform your highness and your excellencies that I am again compelled to call your attention to the trouble of the missionaries at Chi-nan-fu.

The missionaries have been notified by the local magistrate that they can not retain the piece of land that they bought, which lies outside of the city. This is the second place that has been refused to them. It is claimed that this second piece of land was not owned by the person who sold it to the missionaries, although he had a stamped deed from the person who now claims it. It is claimed also that there is a grave on the land. This is true, but when the missionaries bought the land it was stipulated that this grave should remain there three years. The reason given was that the dead person, who was a poor woman, had died of cholera, and it would not do to disturb the body immediately. On these trivial pretexts the deeds are not sealed, the sale is rescinded and the middle man has been incarcerated.

It thus appears that although the missionaries made two bona fide purchases, they have in each Case been refused possession of the places bought.

I renew the statement heretofore repeatedly made to your highness and your excellencies that the missionaries are willing to accept any suitable piece of land that may be satisfactory to the authorities.

I have the honor to state further that by the direction of my Government I must request that in the final settlement of this case damages be awarded to the Rev, Gilbert Reid for the serious beating suffered by him at the hands of a mob. I have to request that his case be considered and a reasonable compensation be made to him for his wrongs and injuries.

Your highness and your excellencies are aware that this matter has been long pending. If it be the intention of the local authorities to deny the missionaries the right to acquire a suitable place to carry on their charitable and religious work at or near Chi-nan-fu, and if they are to be sustained by your highness and your excellencies in that determination, it would be best to make the declaration positive and final, so that I can inform my Government of the conclusion.

But I have been led to believe by the communications of your highness and your excellencies that this case would be amicably settled, and I still hope that such may be the case.

I avail, etc.,

Charles Denby.
[Page 110]
[Inclosure 2 in No. 885.]

The Tsung-li Yamên to Mr. Denby.

Your Excellency: Upon the 4th instant the prince and ministers had the honor to receive a communication from your excellency setting forth that the missionaries had reported that the magistrate at Chi-nan-fu had refused to allow them the second piece of land, a vacant lot outside of the city, etc.

In reply, the prince and ministers would observe that, in regard to this, on the 18th of February, 1889, they received a note from your excellency having relation to it, and they at once transmitted a copy of same to the governor of Shan-tung requesting him to instruct the local officials to expeditiously and satisfactorily take action and settle it, but up to the present time no report has been received from the said province.

Now, having received your excellency’s dispatch under acknowledgment, it is right to again address the governor of Shan-tung in the matter, pressing him to issue strenuous injunctions to the officials under his jurisdiction to speedily bring the case to a close. On receipt of a reply the prince and ministers will inform you, and in the meantime they send this acknowledgment for your excellency’s information.

A necessary communication, etc.,