Mr. Bayard to Mr. Strobel.

No. 217.]

Sir: I transmit a copy of correspondence named below, bearing on the recent apparent very harsh, ungenerous, and unjustifiable treatment of an American citizen, a venerable missionary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, at Ponape, Caroline Islands, the Rev. Mr. Doane, by the new governor of those islands.

You will possess yourself of the facts contained in these communications, and without alluding unnecessarily to the anti-protestant influences which they assume as at the base of the difficulties, will present a distinct outline of the same to the wise consideration of Her Majesty’s Government and say that in view of the heretofore unbroken friendship between the two governments and their treaty relations, and more especially in view of the unreserved assurances conveyed to the Government of the United States in February, March, and May, 1886, that Her Majesty’s Government would guarantee to United States citizens in the Caroline Islands full rights and complete protection, this Government has received information of these extraordinary measures and events with mingled pain and astonishment.

It is understood that Mr. Doane has at length been released from durance, but these papers indicate that a great wrong has been inflicted by the authorities of the islands on the entire interests of the peaceable American community which has been engaged in civilizing and educating the natives of these remote dependencies for nearly half a century—interests in every way tending to promote and in no way to hinder the prosperity of Her Majesty’s subjects.

The United States is justified, under these circumstances, in asking that Her Majesty’s Government will speedily restore these American interests to their former standing in all possible particulars, and that all due indemnity be made to those citizens of the United States in the Caroline Islands who have suffered damage in person or loss in property by reason of the unwarranted proceedings of the local authorities.

You can intimate personally at the foreign office that you believe your Government would be much gratified to hear that such dispositions have been made in respect of the future government of the islands as would, from the high character of the incumbents, preclude the recurrence of similar unfortunate incidents so fraught with danger to the best interests of both countries.

I am, ect.,

T. F. Bayard.
[Inclosure in No. 217.]

Mr. Voigt to Mr. Porter.

No. 177.]

Sir: Serious trouble has arisen between the newly installed Spanish governor of Ponape, Island Ascension, East Caroline group, and our missionaries settled there. The case is a hard one. The Rev. Mr. E. T. Doane, head missionary, who during a [Page 395] residence of thirty-five years, in conjunction with his brethren, in yonder region, not only has successfully reclaimed from barbarism the natives, but also produced those beneficent material changes our missionaries are so apt to create; this venerable and honored Mr. Doane, upon protesting before the Spanish governor of Ponape against the latter’s threatened and partly enforced encroachments on the missionaries’ landed property deeded to them years ago by the native chiefs, was ordered and given fifteen days’ arrest in close confinement on a Spanish transport at the place, by the aforesaid governor, for the reason that the word arbitrary was made use of in Mr. Doane’s written protest. And to add fresh indignity on the old gentleman’s head the same high-handed official took it upon himself to add two months extra arrest, likewise to be suffered in the Spanish transport ships, without even deigning to inform the unfortunate missionary for what, giving him merely to understand there were other charges against him which the governor neither did nor could specify. Finally, by latter’s behest, he, Doane, was sent up to Manila to be tried, it was stated by the former, and he reached here in the transport which had last been his prison, day before yesterday, presenting himself before me, yesterday and asking my assistance. And Mr. Doane, with his honorable age, white haired, is assuredly innocent and most outrageously dealt with. In corroboration of which I enclose letters No. 1 and 2, which will give you further insight into this singular business, which I can only explain by believing the Spanish governor at Ascension to have taken leave of his senses.

I have this day addressed a communication embracing the foregoing facts to his excellency the Governor-General of the Philippines, strongly protesting against the cruel treatment meted out to the aforesaid missionary, and adding I should claim my consular privilege to be present at any trial or examination he may here be subjected to. I have also claimed such reparation, etc., as the case may necessitate or your Department judge proper to insist upon.

The real trouble seems to be that when the new administration for the Carolines arrived there, about the middle of March last, it landed there a number of Capuchin friars who, as was to be expected, are bent upon driving out our Protestant mission, and will, undoubtedly, in course of time, succeed in their powerful effort and in this dependency all pervading influence. It might consequently be extremely advisable to order a naval visit as soon as possible to Ponape, Ascension Island, to afford protection to the there remaining band of missionaries, who otherwise would be at the mercy of a crack-brained governor and a tribe of fanatical monks.

Any further developments I shall have the honor to report in my next dispatch.

I have, etc.,

Julius G. Voigt, Consul.
[Inclosure 1 in inclosure 1 in No. 217.]

Missionaries at Ponape to Mr. Voigt.

Honored Sir: We, the members of the Ponape or Ascension Island Mission, under the charge of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, located in Boston, United States of America, write you asking your earnest and prompt attention to the case of one of our number, the Rev. Edward T. Doane, who, under false charges made against him by foreigners of the lowest class on the island, is deported to Manila by order of Señor Y. Posadillo, governor of the Eastern Carolines. We write you as American citizens, and such we have ever been. Our connection with the above-named society is asure guarantee of our good character. We one and all, with no mental reservation, do assert that the charges made against our associate are false and are maliciously made. I will inclose a paper containing the charges made against Mr. Doane. This paper may not be correct, as he has not had it from the governor, but from one who refused to sign a paper containing these charges. A paper containing a fuller statement of the facts in regard to his imprisonment and the charges made against him will be put in your hands by Mr. Doane or some other person immediately on his arrival at Manila. We are concerned mainly that you give your earnest and prompt attention to his case that the matter may come before the American Government at the earliest possible date. We unhesitatingly affirm that every charge is false.

Mr. Doane was arrested on the 13th of April last, and on the 15th sentenced to fifteen days’ imprisonment for a phrase in a letter sent by him to the governor in regard to the mission land at Kenan, now Port Santiago. When the fifteen days were over he was informed by the governor that he was to remain longer on new charges, but he has never been officially informed of the nature of those charges or given any opportunity to defend himself.

[Page 396]

But it is not for us to discuss the matter. We simply, as American citizens, who feel deeply for her honor and are sure that she will not allow any of her subjects to be unjustly dealt with however far he may be from the land of his birth, write you as we do.

We would say further that we, as American citizens residing on Ponape, do ask that the attention of our Government be called to the lands held here by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, some of which have already been taken from us.

We would say further that the wife of the Rev. F. E. Rand accompanies Mr. Doane on her way to the States for ill health. She will be able to make such statements to yourself respecting Mr. Doane and the lands spoken of above as you may need.

We remain, dear sir, yours,

  • Annette A. Palmer.
  • F. E. Rand.
  • C. S. Rand.
  • J. E. Fletcher.
By Russ and Kehoe—putting girl in irons.
That he told natives at Kiti and Metalanim to take guns and take the ship Manila—that an American man-of-war would come and make all right.
Taught natives to pray that the vessel go down and be wrecked.
Interfering with trade, tabooed the natives. Russ wanted $5,000 from the American board of commissioners for foreign missions.
That he had guns in his house to give natives to fight.

In addition to this it is said that the governor has three of his letters.

[Inclosure 2 in Inclosure 1 in No. 217.]

Mr. Dean to Mr. Voigt.

Dear Sir: I take the liberty of introducing to you the bearer, the Rev. Mr. Doane, a prominent member of the American Missionary Society, who it seems is the victim of a parcel of designing and unprincipled men. It is not requisite for me to state his case; he is very well able to do it himself and only trust that a facility will be given him to do so. I need only state that his reputation is above reproach, as his calling should guarantee. I have known him by the reports of his good acts for the last fourteen years, though this is the first time that we have met personally. Trusting that he may find in you officially a friend who will see justice done him,

I remain, dear sir, yours faithfully,

D. Dean.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 217.]

Mr. Smith to Mr. Bayard.

Dear Sir: I am able this morning to place in your hands a copy of a letter from the mission of the American board located on Ponape, Caroline Islands, written officially to notify us of the facts connected with Mr. Doane’s arrest and imprisonment, and to inform us of the manner in which the Spanish officials are interfering with our missionary work, and to ask our aid and counsel. Accompanying this official letter is a record of the official action of the mission in the case, a copy of which I send. I add, also, a copy of a letter just received from Rev. J. D. Davis, d. d., of our mission in Japan, a brother-in-law of Mr. Doane, including a letter from Mr. Doane to him, which recites some of the more serious and shocking results of this unwarranted interference with our mission work, in the demoralization of the natives, the breaking up of schools and churches.

With such facts laid before us, so plainly indicating the unfriendly attitude the Spanish Government is disposed to take toward the missionary work which for [Page 397] thirty-five years our American missionaries have carried on, with great self-denial and with wonderful results in the Christianizing and civilizing of these people,* we cannot forbear renewing our appeal to our Government to make prompt and thorough inquiry into this whole matter, and to insist upon it that Spain shall treat our American missionaries and their work in those islands with the respect and consideration which treaty rights between that Government and ours require, with as much respect and consideration as Mohammedan Turkey and heathen China show to our missionaries within their borders. After what has happened it is not enough that Spain returns Mr. Doane to Ponape justified. She must fully indemnify him for all losses and wrongs experienced at her hands. She must also explain to our Government this remarkable treatment of one of our citizens; and she must give adequate pledges that nothing of this kind shall occur again, and that our missionaries shall be protected by her in the prosecution of their missionary work and in all their rights of person and property. Nothing less than this will meet the case. Nothing less than this save the honor of our Government. Nothing less than this will meet the demands of public opinion in this land, and in all other Protestant lands.

We can not doubt that you are impressed with all these considerations, and are fully alive to their bearings upon the good repute of the nation and the right relations of this Government to that of Spain. We trust that prompt and efficient action will be taken, such as the case fairly demands, and such as can not be misunderstood by the Spanish authorities at Ponape, Manila, and Madrid, and such as will avert all farther danger of interruption to our work.

We desire to learn from you, at an early day, what information you have and what steps you have taken.

I am, etc.

Judson Smith,
Foreign Secretary American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

Note A.—Results of missionary work by the American Board of Commissioners for foreign missions in the Caroline Islands and adjoining groups.

More than thirty of the principal islands have been visited, and churches and schools established upon them, and new modes of life and better laws have been adopted by the natives. There are now in these islands, under the care of American missionaries, and wholly as the result of their Christian labors, 50 churches, 5,250 communicants, 6 high schools, 175 pupils, 37 day schools, and 2,600 pupils.

The Bible has been translated into five languages, and many school books have been prepared by our missionaries.

Judson Smith.

The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions:

Dear Respected Friends: I am sorry we are forced to increase your burdens by bearing to you the sad news contained in this letter. You will see from the minutes, under date of June 11, that the mission thought best a letter be written you stating the condition of things here. I have time to write only a little, as the vessel is just ready to sail; but from Mrs. Rand you can learn full particulars. To hear Spain has taken possession of these islands will be to you no news, as doubtless you long since have known this. Yes, Rome is here. No more in love (if any difference more hostile), I can assure you, with Protestantism, than in other lands. On the arrival of the Spanish they centered their forces at Kenan, one of the principal mission stations. They had not been here long when trouble arose in regard to the mission land at Kenan. They soon encroached so much upon the mission premises, Mr. Doane felt called upon to send in a protest, but he did not do this till all explanations, entreaties, and everything that could be said in regard to your rights were utterly disregarded. The protest did not meet the governor’s approval, consequently April 13 Mr. Doane was taken prisoner on board the Spanish man-of-war. For three days he remained in confinement and no one was allowed to see or converse with him. At the end of three days the governor visited him and sentenced him for sending in the protest to fifteen days’ imprisonment on board the [Page 398] vessel. Mr. Doane submitted and said nothing. We all fully expected when Mr. Doane had served his time, fifteen days, he would be at liberty; but as the time expired the governor sent him a letter stating he was to remain a prisoner on further charges, but was careful not to state those charges.

Mr. Doane waited some time thinking the governor would visit him and tell why he was detained on board, this not being the ease he sent the governor a letter kindly asking to know the charges for which he was still held a prisoner. The governor answered not at all. Again and again has Mr. Hand inquired with like success. He has been confined all these weeks without the least knowledge except as we guess at it why he is there. Last Friday, June 11th, the governor sent him word he was to be taken to Manila. The vessel sails Wednesday. Mrs. Rand will tell you all about a certain class of foreigners, and all they have said and done, also how Mr. Doane has not had the least chance to defend himself in any way whatever, has not even been told he was going to Manila in time to take care of his personal property; he has to go and leave everything just as it is. And the work—what of it? Never was the island in so good a condition as when the Spanish came; the work never prospered so well as during the last year. Church work, schools, everything was in good order. The wreck that has been made in three months seems impossible.

The public schools with the exception of two, he has closed. The church services at one station are closed and we live in hourly expectation of a notice to close the boarding school. As it is we have to watch the girls day and night to keep them from being stolen and placed in houses where they will learn, to say the least, no good. Ask Mrs. Rand about the case of the minister, Narcissus, whom Mr. Sturges ordained so many years ago; and also about Pol, the king of the Metalanim tribe. She will also tell you about sending mail and expressing our mind in letters.

Now, my dear friends, what shall we do? As a child would turn to go to a parent for instruction and guidance, so turn we to you. That Spain has to these islands the right of discovery, none will dispute; but how about these thirty-four or thirty-five years of labor and expense America has given? During all this time Spain has not even looked at these islands, and now she comes in and finds our natives well civilized. Schools, churches all under headway and must we step aside and see all this come to naught? I do not believe that such is the will of Heaven. Some may say move from Ponape. No, we believe we know the voice that gives us our commission and he never calls defeat. Moreover, they claim all the west, and to forsake Ponape is simply to leave them a splendid land in which to work; their schools and churches gather in the natives from other islands—in fact to resign Ponape is to give up your claim to all the western islands and Kusair.

If it is a fact that we must leave and resign all to Spain, then as soon as possible we want to hear this from you, not from a foreign power; unless forced to leave the work as Mr. Doane has been, we will not give one inch of ground, or slack up one particle in our teaching until we hear from you. Then if you say there is no hope, and that all your claims here for the Lord must be resigned, and we must go, we will, to be sure, obey with perfect confidence in your judgment, for we know you will do all you can to hold your work here and only resign when you feel sure it is useless to continue. Mr. Doane being taken away in this manner is going to make a terrible crash all along the line; still, we who are left will work on with a determination that only persecution in the Lord’s work can give. We believe the Father sooner or later will send relief.

If I could only bring before you the scene of yesterday when Mr. Doane’s farewell letter was read in church, and Mrs. Rand’s departure announced; if you could have seen boys and girls, women and men, those, too, who once were savage war-like men, mingle their heartfelt tears together, and with childlike trust turn to us, and ask if we could not prevent his going and why they were going to take him to Manila; if you could have seen all this, you would feel with us, even more deeply than you now do, that these islands must be held as they have in the past been taken for the King of Heaven. You have as a board rescued these people from heathenism, and must we leave them now?

Oh, if we only had strength to say with Nehemiah, “No, we will not come down till the work is done.” But after Wednesday our forces will number only three, the others are in number many. The government in their hands; a strong military force behind; is it any wonder when we realize all this our faith should grow a little dim? Long ere this reaches you Mr. Rand may fill Mr. Doane’s place on board the stationary man-of-war; Miss Palmer and myself may be forbidden to teach; so, if it does lie in your power to do anything at all to save the work let it be done as quickly as possible.

Mrs. Rand will tell you about the deeds of all the mission lands; and also, bear in mind this letter is only a mere outline of the condition of things, Poor Mr. Doane, we have no idea what is before him, and all this after he has labored here so many years. May the Lord grant that his being taken to Manila may open a door there for you, as a Board, and take that city for the Lord.

[Page 399]

But time will permit me to say no more. With an anxiety which none but ourselves can know we await directions from the home land.

May the Lord be very near you to guide in all decisions and have you and us in his very special keeping.

Yours sincerely,

J. E. Fletcher.

The following is a copy of a letter received by me a few days since from Mr. Doane, via Manila:

Ponape, June 5, 1887.

Dear Brother: Sixty-seven, and a prisoner! What do you think of that? The Spanish a few months since came upon us in a perfect cyclone of fury. It seemed at first as if we must all be swept off as by some enormous tidal wave. As being the oldest member of the mission, the largest landmark, it struck me first and landed me a prisoner on board their steamship Manila, where I remained more than a month, then was transferred to this vessel, a man-of-war, Maria de Molina; here I shall remain I know not how long. I was arrested April 14, the ostensible reason being I wrote a simple protest to the ruler against his taking some lands belonging to the mission, I used the word ‘arbitrary,’ in no bad sense, however, but it was so taken, and I imprisoned. The penalty was fifteen days. The time was nearly up, when an official note informed me I was to continue in that state. But for what no one knows. I certainly do not. I have committed no crime, broken no law, injured no one, yet I am held a prisoner. There are two explanations of the hostile feeling toward us—the old spirit of Rome, and that other old, old couplet, the missionary and the beach-comber—the gospel and the sin of these islands. Ever since the sailing of the good ship Duff, in 1792, or thereabouts, there has been this conflict, and the evils growing out of it are in proportion to the character of the commander reaching any given island and hearing the reports. Slang, false stories of the beach-comber; if he chance to be a good common-sense American or English commander, he will make short work with these silly stories; if, on the other hand, he be influenced by the spirit of Rome, he will only lend a readier ear to all such reports, for it will help wipe out Protestant missions. Here is our difficulty. Under the spirit of Rome, our day schools, all except one, have been closed. Our good brother Narcissus de Santas has been silenced; can no longer preach, attend meetings, help in the prayer meeting or Sunday school; he is allowed simply to hold his faith but not to proclaim it. Houses of ill-fame are springing up all around us; girls stolen from their homes by night. I should say I would not charge the government with the opening of these houses, but the officials do allow all the feminine kind possible to be brought in, and freely given out, or put where they can be freely used for the purposes for which they were brought. Liquor, too, flows freely. Natives and beach-combers can easily get a full supply. Our native preachers, while they have not been forbidden their work, some are purposely so circumstanced that their work is greatly interfered with.

“These are some of the evils which have already struck our work, and with these comes the rapid demoralization of the mass of the people under the new state of things. They neither respect the missionaries’ influence nor can their chiefs control them as formerly. A sad day has dawned on Ponape, or rather a dark night envelopes her. We tremble for the future.

E. D. Doane.”

We have sent a request to the United States minister at Tokio, to get permission, if possible, by cable from Washington, to send a man-of-war from here to look into this case; have also written to the United States consul at Manila, but he is an inefficent man, and it is doubtful if anything is done. Can not you get the Washington authorities to act? Here is a man nearly 70 years old in durance vile in that climate for we know not how long.

Sincerely yours,

J. D. Davis.

Minutes of the Ponape Mission.

The meeting was held in the girls’ home, all members except Mr. Doane being present. After religious exercises the following motions were passed:

Since the missionary work on Ponape is seriously interfered with, and all the work in Micronesia threatened.

[Page 400]

Moved: One of our number proceed at once to Boston to confer with the Board and receive directions from them.

The motion was carried.

Voted: That seeing Mr. Doane is in prison, and Mr. Rand can not leave the field, Mrs. Rand, since she is expecting to go on the coming Star on account of health, be appointed to proceed to Boston by way of Manila for said conference.

Voted: The secretary be appointed to write to the Board in regard to Mr. Doane’s imprisonment and the sad state of affairs on Ponape.

Voted: Mr. Doane be authorized to write to the American consul at Manila concerning his own imprisonment and the missionary work here.

Ponape, June 14, 1887.

Voted: That we approve of Mr. Doane taking to Manila as witnesses Mr. Bowker, Henry Nanapei, and David.

Voted: That the letter to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions brought before the mission by the secretary be approved and forwarded to Boston.

Moved: That an order on the Morning Star for $225 be given Henry Nanapei to repay him for money loaned Mrs. Rand to defray expenses from Ponape to Hongkong.

The motion was carried.

Yours sincerely,

J. E. Fletcher,
  1. See note A accompanying this letter.