Mr. Denby to Mr. Olney.
Peking, February 14, 1896. (Received April 3.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I have received from Consul Child a claim against the Government of China, which was filed in his consulate by Rev. George Warner, of the American Baptist Missionary Union, a copy of which is inclosed.
Clause 134, Article XII, of the personal instructions, requires that diplomatic agents shall, with rare exceptions, seek previous instructions from the Department before presenting to the Government to which they are accredited any claim for collection. I have strictly observed this rule, and have filed without previous instructions such claims only as clearly came within the exceptions. The rule has often proved beneficial in its operation, serving to prevent the presentation of speculative or doubtful demands.
A careful consideration of the claims now presented for your instruction will show that they come under the head of consequential or remote damages, about the allowance whereof in actions for tort there has been much discussion in the courts. The theory underlying the claims is that the parties mentioned, who are members of the American Baptist Missionary Union, were compelled by riotous proceedings in Szechuan to leave their homes and go elsewhere to secure personal safety, and were there put to great expense. Take, as an example, the first case, that of Dr. C. H. Finch, wife and family. He was forced to go to Shanghai, and the Union charges for “traveling expenses to Shanghai and return, $350; six months’ house rent and extra incidental expenses, $500; six months’ lost time, salary at $125 per month, $750,” amounting to $1,600 for Dr. Finch.
Besides these items there is attached to some of the schedules the statement, “Losses on property not yet estimated.” In other items the losses on property are “estimated.” One of the schedules contains charges for expenses in traveling to Chungking and return. One contains charges for “two passages to America, $700.”
The argument in favor of the allowance of these claims is made in the second inclosure, and it is not therefore necessary for me to present it. Relying on your better judgment, I need say little. Charges similar to those made in the claims now presented have been bruited during my stay here. * * *
I therefore ask your specific instructions as to what items in the claims herewith inclosed I shall present for payment, if any.
I have, etc.,