the United States,
Peking, December 5, 1891.
(Received January 26, 1892.)
Mr. Reid has not officially reported this settlement to me, but, from
anterior information received from him, I have no doubt the inclosure truly
recites the facts.
The contest between the missionaries and the officials has been long and
severe. The missionaries have demonstrated pluck and endurance and will
receive my congratulations.
Both on your account and on account of this legation I fervently hope that
the Chinanfu missionaries will not get into any more trouble.
[Inclosure in No. 1438.]
Clipping from the North China Daily News, November
We have now to report the settlement of the long-standing and wearisome
contest of the American Presbyterian mission in securing property in the
city limits. The last phase of the contest has been in connection with a
piece of land leased for thirty years in the east suburb in February
last. Some time since we mentioned that the new Taotai had requested of
the missionaries that an exchange be allowed if an equally suitable
piece be found. This request was acceded to by the missionaries. Some
three weeks since, a small plot of low swamp land was offered in the
northeast suburb, which of course was deemed unsuitable. Several
interviews were held between Mr. Reid and the officials, and at last, on
the 31st of October, an agreement was orally made at the Taotai’s yamen
between Mr. Reid on the one side, and the Taotai, prefect, magistrate,
two special deputies of foreign affairs, and two of the leading gentry
of the city. By a promise that no high-storied building be erected, and
no ditch dug out, to destroy the geomantic influence, the land was
decided to peaceably revert to the mission. Since then the mission and
the gentry have alike reported by letter or petition to the magistrate,
whereby the case could be closed and building begun. The thirty years’
lease has been changed to a perpetual lease, [Page 74] and presented to the magistrate for official seal.
Arrangements have been made to build this autumn a wall and a few
buildings, but on account of the military examination and other reasons
there is a delay of a few days. It is intended to prevent all trouble,
and so a little more leisure is being extended to the officials to make
their final plans of protection.
The first effort at securing property in the suburbs goes back a period
of eight years, but as associated with the present case some six years.
The opposition started by the gentry was in May, 1887, and has lasted
ever since in different ways. Two riots have occurred (besides one
against an English missionary), and three others threatened. And yet
amid all this opposition the missionaries have made advancement even in
the tangible matter of property. And property leased in the east suburb
and concerning which the gentry stirred opposition, has been held, and
the sanction given to purchase if so desired. A piece of land has been
purchased in the country, and a house leased for ten years in the city.
And property taken by perpetual lease in the southeast suburb has been
given up and money taken back, while with this money a new piece has
just been secured under perpetual lease in the east suburb. Also six
different houses and one shop have during the period been peaceably
rented by the different missions. The result just reached has not been
by stirring up bad blood; but with the prospect of harmony and good
will, by steadily holding on, and by watching the changeable
circumstances, success has come. The United States minister has kept
patiently interceding for the missionaries—the last order being issued
only a few weeks since—and to him a large amount of gratitude is due
from the missionaries.
We have just heard that the Roman Catholics have purchased a house in the
city limits at Chiningchow, and so their case can be regarded as all
Thus, while troubles are occurring in the south, peace and favor are
descending on foreigners and missionaries in the north, even in
so-called hostile Shantung. The new era is largely due to the energy and
capacity of the new Taotai at this place, Chang Shang-ta, a Honan man.
All these cases settled have been under his supervision and by his
mediation. When he assumed office in August he determined to settle up
every case in his jurisdiction, or which should be submitted to him, and
for now successfully settling the two cases at Chiningchow, American
Presbyterian and German Catholic, and the one case here, he deserves
promotion at an early date. There remains the case at Yenchow Fu, under