Mr. Denby to Mr. Foster.
Peking, December 1, 1892. (Received January 14, 1893.)
Sir: In my dispatch No. 1385, of September 10, 1891, I referred to my correspondence with the foreign office relating to the Yangtze regulations. I therein urged that these regulations should be rescinded, as by their terms they were to endure only until tranquillity was restored, which had long since happened. The inspector-general of maritime customs took the same view, and the foreign office intimated that it would rescind or modify the said regulations.
Nothing, however, was done touching this subject. The 19th day of November last I again addressed the Yamênon the subject. I inclose herewith a copy of my communication, together with a copy of the reply thereto.
The Yamênsets out at great length a report on this subject from the northern and southern superintendents of trade, wherein they make a forcible argument against the doing away with the existing regulations respecting bonds. The Yamênconcludes that as long as foreign merchants charter native junks in trade on the Yangtze they must give bonds. If foreign merchants should cease to employ native junks then the system may be abolished.
There has been a great deal of illicit traffic in munitions of war on the Yangtze during the past year. Under the bond system such importations can in a measure be checked and bad characters can be found out and bona fide merchants protected.
I shall, for the present, let the question rest where it is.
I have, etc.,