Mr. Denby to Mr. Blaine.

No. 1514.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose a copy of a communication sent by me to the foreign office on the subject of the “Hunan publications,” wherein I urgently request that the circulation of these publications be suppressed. Strenuous efforts have heretofore been made by the diplomatic body to secure this result, but as I have received lately several petitions from American citizens to press this subject, I judge best to send to the foreign office the inclosed communication.

I have, etc.,

Charles Denby.
[Inclosure with No. 1514.]

Mr. Denby to the tsung-li yamên.

Your Highness and Your Excellencies: I have the honor to inform your highness and your excellencies that I am in receipt of divers petitions signed by Americans and others, asking me to request your highness and your excellencies to take active steps for the suppression of what are generally called the “Hunan publications.” A very general belief prevails among foreigners in China that publications of this nature were last year influential causes of riots, and it is feared that if they are now permitted to circulate freely among the people like disorders will ensue during the present spring. The papers and placards complained of are in no sense a fair or proper argument against Christianity, but are obesene libels charging foreigners with every species of crime and immorality and are directly calculated and intended to produce antiforeign riots. Their plain purpose to accomplish this end is set out in language which advises murder, arson, and outrage. No government in [Page 104] the world would fail to take the most urgent measures to restrain the flow of vile obscenity embodied in these publications. It is well known that the recent riots were preceded by the circulation of these publications; that the names of the authors and circulators thereof are, in some cases, known; that these persons are not a secret society, but act publicly; and that while the local officials have shown great energy in arresting and punishing the members of the Kolao Hhui, but little has been done in punishing the persons who have circulated these publications. The question of preventing riots and public disorders is as important to the Chinese Government as it is to foreigners, but in a different sense. For the foreigner, his life and property are involved. For himself protection is, as to all other persons, the supreme law of nature. Riots involve the Chinese Government in great expense, weaken its just authority, and bring it into disrepute among foreign nations. I am persuaded that your highness and your excellencies desire that peace and tranquillity shall prevail in China as earnestly as I, myself, do. I beg, therefore, that active measures be taken to suppress one of the chief causes of disorder; that is to say, the libelous publications above referred to.