Mr. Bayard to Mr. Chang Yen Hoon.

Sir: Although but a few hours remain of my official term, yet I feel constrained to acknowledge, and say a few words by way of reply, to the note of the 25th instant with which you have honored me, and for the kind expressions contained in which, I am sincerely and wholly appreciative.

I do not find therein any question of the accuracy of the narration of events and oral interviews set forth in my note to you of February 2, and shall not therefore refer to what I said therein.

I am not disposed to question the accuracy of the recollection of yourself and the gentlemen of your suite who were in attendance at our interview of February 29, 1888, to which you refer as to what transpired on that occasion.

The bills which at that time had been brought into Congress proposing to deal with the question of Chinese immigration, and apparently without due regard to treaty obligations, undoubtedly caused me to feel anxious to remove by conventional methods all causes of discontent in the United States in connection with the presence here of Chinese laborers.

We shared, and I believe equally, a desire to prevent any breach of treaty engagements—and with that sentiment I know the President was fully penetrated.

Consequently I assure you of the desire of the President to prevent any infractions of existing treaties by the passage of statutes in opposition, and hence the subsequent negotiations which were included in the treaty of March 12, 1888.

None of the bills mentioned in your note ever passed Congress. The treaty negotiated and signed by you and me as the accredited and duly empowered representatives of our respective Governments accomplished the good purpose for which it was intended, so far as to put an end to the further progress in Congress of the objectionable measures alluded to in your note.

After this treaty had been submitted to the Senate, and had been ratified by that body with certain amendments, which were admitted by you not to change the force and effect of the original text, it was sent to China, and after a considerable lapse of time and during your personal absence from the United States, the news was transmitted from China by way of London that your Government had rejected the treaty which was expressly designed to put an end to all misunderstanding between the two Governments, and allay the ill-feeling of prejudice against Chinese laborers in the United States, of which we had received such unhappy but undeniable proofs.

The fact that the first news of this rejection of the treaty between the United States and China came from Great Britain gave impetus to [Page 131] the popular belief that influences exterior to the two nations who alone were parties to the treaty had been at work successfully to defeat the arrangement which had been so deliberately, carefully and amicably arranged by you and myself under the express authority of our respective Governments.

Under this condition of affairs, during your temporary absence from the country, and believing that China did not intend to carry out and accept in full faith and force a plan of settlement so carefully and deliberately proposed by herself, the exclusion act, known as the “Scott bill,” was suddenly and without notice brought forward in Congress, and passed with an unanimity in both houses which palpably rendered an interposition by a veto of the Executive wholly futile.

Accept, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.