Mr. Denby, chargé, to Mr. Gresham.

No. 1867.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of a note addressed by the Russian minister, dean of the diplomatic body, to the Yamên, and of the Yamên’s reply, with reference to antiforeign placards which have again appeared in the province of Hu-pei.

Copies of these placards were forwarded by the consular corps at Hankow to the diplomatic body at Peking, and a protest against them was placed before the viceroy at Hankow.

These placards at present complained of differ from previous attacks on foreigners in that they do not advocate their abuse and ill treatment directly, but denounce and threaten vengeance on all Chinese who may have relations with “the barbarians,” and particularly those who may sell or lease them land. In a handbill posted up in the Sung-pu district it is stated that “foreigners may, in accordance with the laws of hospitality, be boarded and lodged, but any innkeeper who dares to keep them more than a few days will, on discovery, have his house razed to the ground and his land converted to the public use.”

It is also directed that foreigners’ books must not be bought, and that those who buy them shall “be dealt with by the people.”

This handbill threatens with death anyone who sells land to foreigners. It closes with the announcement, “If anyone in his greed for gain permits a foreigner to build other houses, the headman is to inform us; we will destroy them and thus prevent future calamities.”

The proclamations in the other localities are of the same character.

The people of Sung-pu and vicinity, frightened by the terrible calamities which the official investigation of the murder of the Swedish missionaries last year brought upon them, seem determined on a policy of absolute nonintercourse with foreigners. They regard the presence of a missionary or a chapel as a source from which at any moment great disasters may arise, and there can be no doubt of the efficacy of their preventive measures. These proclamations, however, tend directly to excite active hostility to foreigners, andit is to be hoped that the authorities will use vigorous means to suppress them.

I have, etc.,

Charles Denby, Jr.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 1867.]

Count Cassini to the Tsung-li-Yamên.

Your Highness and Your Excellencies: I learn that placards extremely hostile to foreigners, of which you will find inclosed several specimens, have been again posted in different localities of Hu-kuang, and noticeably at Sung-pu itself, where last year two unfortunate Swedish missionaries were traitorously massacred, and at Huang-chou.

In the presence of these facts and others, as that of the outrages of which a Russian subject at Hankow, Mr. Daniloff, was recently the victim, which prove once more that the hostility of the people along the Yangtze toward peaceable foreigners has in no respect diminished, the foreign representatives believe it to be their duty to insist in the most energetic manner that the Tsung-li-Yamên give the most severe [Page 151] orders to the provincial authorities in order to prevent the recurrence of events so sincerely to be regretted, and in order to assure to foreigners the liberty and security which the treaties guarantee them.

While recognizing that the Tsung-li-Yamên has, to a certain degree, complied with the demands formulated by Colonel Denby in the name of the diplomatic body in his letter of the 2d February last, in having posted anew in certain localities along the Yangtze the important imperial edict of the 13th June, 1891, if is greatly to be regretted, firstly, that the Imperial Government has not given it greater publicity, and, above all, that the Government has not considered it its duty to have this edict preceded or followed by a sentence with reference to what occurred at Sung-pu, and that this edict has not, therefore, produced the effect which was to be expected of it.

The foreign representatives accredited to Peking expect that your imperial highness and your excellencies will not fail to take the necessary steps in order that these placards, which they (?) have had the audacity to post beside the imperial edict of 1891, be removed, their authors punished, and that, finally, the most severe oversight be exercised to put an end to this excitement of the people against foreigners, which might lead to a recurrence of the melancholy events of last year.

I am charged to make this communication in the name of my colleagues of the diplomatic corps, and I seize this occasion to renew to your imperial highness and your excellencies the assurances, etc.

Count Cassini.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 1867.]

The Tsung-li-Yamên to Count Cassini.

On the 28th day of the fourth moon of the twentieth year of Kuang Hsu (1st June, 1894) we received from your excellency a dispatch under cover of which you sent us two anonymous placards coming from Ma-Ch’eng (department of Huang-chou), and in which you asked us to give orders to the high authorities of the said province in order to secure the exercise of such protection as the treaties provide.

This Yamên, having telegraphed to the province of Hupei that the facts be ascertained and preventive measures taken, received from the viceroy of Hu-kuang the following telegraphic reply:

In the matter of placards at Sung-pu and other localities in the subprefecture of Ma-ch’eng, I had previously received dispatches from several consuls at Hankow, and I have already ordered the local authorities to actively search for such placards and to forbid and to destroy them. The people of Sung-pu, fearing that some affair similar to that of last year might occur, have joined together and exercise themselves supervision. This causes no harm to foreigners. If one considers attentively the sentiments of the people at this hour one can not fail to give secret and severe orders of a preventive character, but one can not act with too great precipitation lest disorder might ensue.

This Yamên has again ordered the local authorities to continue their investigations, and in case placards are found they will prohibit them; we also send a copy of your excellency’s dispatch to the viceroy of Hu-kuang that he may reply in detail. We consider it also our duty to address to your excellency this reply for your information.