Mr. Denby to Mr. Olney .

No. 2278.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose a copy of a communication sent by me to the Tsung-li Yamên relating to a proposal of the mode of settling the matters growing out of the recent riots in Szechuan.

In 1886, when riots occurred at Chungking, I requested the English consul at that port to take charge of and arrange for the settlement of matters affecting American interests. He acted very satisfactorily, and his conduct was approved by the Department and all the interested parties.

I have in this case requested Mr. Tratman, Her Britannic Majesty’s consul at Chungking, to do what is necessary to secure damages for the [Page 89] American missionaries, and Her Britannic Majesty’s minister has kindly consented that he may act for us. The proposition sent to the Yamên provides for the appointment of a commission composed of certain Chinese officials and one British and one American commissioner to take all the facts and circumstances into consideration and to report to Peking. As our nearest consul is at Hankow and it would take him two or three months to reach Chungking, this course seemed advisable. I submit my action for your approval. The Yamên has not yet approved of the mode of settlement proposed.

I have, etc.,

Charles Denby
[Inclosure in No. 2278.]

Mr. Denby to the Tsung-li Yamên .

A commission should be appointed, composed of the new viceroy of Szechuan, the treasurer and judge of the province, with whom should be associated two missionaries—one British and one American—for the purpose of investigating on the spot the circumstances connected with the origin of the riots, for inquiring into and determining the losses sustained by British and Americans in consequence of the riot, and fixing the amount of the indemnity to which in each case the claimants are entitled, and for making such other arrangements and dispositions as on mutual consultation may be found necessary to secure the settlement of the present difficulties and the prevention of future trouble.

The commissioners should submit a report of the proceedings of the conference and of the conclusions at which they have arrived to their respective authorities at Peking, who should take into consideration the suggestions and recommendations they had made and pronounce a final decision.

In view of the fact that the United States have no consul nearer than Hankow, I have requested Her Britannic Majesty’s minister to permit Her Britannic Majesty’s consul at Chungking to take charge of American interests and to choose a suitable person to serve as the American commissioner.

I trust that telegraphic orders will be sent to the Chinese commissioners to hold themselves in readiness for the inquiry.

As soon as I am informed that this proposal is adopted by the Tsung-li Yamên I will notify Her Britannic Majesty’s consul at Chungking to nominate the American commissioner and desire him to join his Chinese and British colleagues at Chengtu immediately.

Charles Denby