Mr. Denby to Mr. Blaine.

No. 1464.]

Sir: In my dispatch, No. 1451, of December 31 last, I submitted a copy of a circular issued by the French minister, referring to a proclamation posted by the magistrate at Ping-chuan Chou, wherein the said magistrate excused the atrocities committed against native Christians by the rebels. In my dispatch No. 1454, of the 11th instant, I reported the action of the diplomatic body thereon. In response to the representations of the Doyen the yamên stated that Li Hung-chang had been ordered to investigate into the conduct of the said official and report thereon.

Nothing further has been heard from the yamên on the subject, but the Peking Gazette of the 28th instant contains an imperial decree wherein the Emperor states that he has received a report from Li Hung-chang and Kueipin on the officials at Chaoyang and vicinity, the scene of the recent rebellion. He states that long before actual warfare began that locality was infested with bands of robbers who indicted serious injuries on the Mongol and Christian population. The officials took no measures to subdue them, and the outbreak assumed large proportions. The Chih-hsien or district magistrate at Chao-yang is charged with remaining in his office writing verses and drinking wine, indifferent to his duties toward his people. His record also shows that at a previous post he had borrowed money from wealthy citizens, and had made so many debts as scarcely to be able to get away.

The district magistrate at Chien-chang is charged with inaction, and with issuing false reports as to outrages committed by rebels in his jurisdiction.

The magistrate at Ping-chuan, however, the object of the French minister’s remonstrances, comes in for the most serious charge of all. He is stated not to have afforded protection to Christian chapels in the streets of his own city, with having issued exaggerated reports of the numbers of the rebels, and with lightly giving heed to false reports regarding Christians and basing thereon proclamations calculated to arouse the popular feeling against them.

Li Hung-chang and Kueipin had recommended that these officials be deprived of rank and office, but the Emperor remarks that such punishment is inadequate to their offense, and orders that they be degraded and banished to the forts on the frontier.

A translation of this decree is inclosed herewith.

I have the honor, etc.,

Charles Denby.
[Inclosure in No. 1464.]

Translation of decree from Peking Gazette, January 28, 1892.

Li Hung-chang and Kueipin have presented a memorial setting forth the result of the investigation which, in obedience to our instructions, they made into the official misconduct of the magistrates at Chao-yang and other places.

Long before the evil-disposed persons of Jeho had created disturbances at Chao-yang, the departments of Ping-chuan and Chien-chang were overrun with robbers. The Mongols underwent at their hands great cruelties, and the Christians suffered the burning of their chapels and the murder of their people. The magistrates of these departments were guilty of such carelessness and neglect that bands of rowdies [Page 87] profited of the occasion to excite the populace and bring about a serious outbreak. Remissness in control is an inexcusable fault.

In the report now before us it is stated that Liao Dimming, district magistrate at Chao-yang, though not charged with running away at a warning of danger, was guilty of passing all his time in his yamen writing verses and drinking wine regardless of the interests of his people. Furthermore, he was continually borrowing money of wealthy citizens and running deeply into debt. When he was transferred from Chih-feng to Chao-yang, the merchants did their utmost to hinder his departure. His conduct has been most disgraceful.

As to Chang Tsou-kai, district magistrate at Chien-chang, it is charged that when the outbreak was just commencing he took no measures to guard against it, and after the trouble was over he failed to report the truth concerning the murders and destruction of property at San-shih-chia-tzu. With his heart bent on deceiving, he hoped by concealment to shirk responsibility.

Wen Pu-neng, acting department magistrate at Ping-chuan, has a reputation for trickery. He was dilatory in the performance of his duties. He was even unable to protect the neighboring chapels in the very streets of his city. In his official reports he vastly exaggerated the number of the rebels. In speaking of the burning of Christian chapels and the murder of Christians he lightly gave credence to false stories and fabricated a proclamation calculated to stir up the popular mind.

These three officials, by their covetousness, lying, and inability, have brought an inheritance of evil to the places under them. They are truly worthy of contempt.

The memorialists pray that Liao Lun-ming be degraded from office, and be forever disqualified for official employment, and that Chang Tsou-kai and Wen Pu-neng be degraded from office. This penalty seems inadequate to their offense. We command that Liao Lun-ining, Chan Tsou-kai and Wen Puneng all be degraded and banished to the frontier forts. Let them by their exertions there atone for their offenses, and serve as an example to others.

As to the other matters in the memorial, let it be as the memorialists suggest.

Let the proper board take notice. Respect this.