Mr. Denby to Mr. Blaine.

No. 1438.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a cutting from the North China Daily News of the 28th ultimo, wherein a full account of the recent happy settlement of the Chinanfu troubles is given.

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.

I have, etc.,

Charles Denby.
[Inclosure in No. 1438.]

Clipping from the North China Daily News, November 28, 1891.

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 settled.

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 another Taotai.

November 9.