Mr. Denby to Mr.
the United States,
January 30, 1892
(Received March. 21.)
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
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
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.,
[Inclosure in No. 1464.]
Translation of decree from Peking Gazette, January
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
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
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
As to the other matters in the memorial, let it be as the memorialists
Let the proper board take notice. Respect this.