Mr. Denby to Mr. Olney.

No. 2496.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a translation of a communication from the Tsung-li Yamên concerning the agreement made by the members of the Szechuan commission and the Chinese officials as to the payment of the claims of the American Methodist Mission.

[Page 49]

I inclose, also, a copy of my answer to this communication. It will be seen that the Yamên is ready to take up the claims of the Southern Baptists’ Union, which were not presented by the commission.

In my dispatch No. 2479, of February 14, 1896, I transmitted to you a copy of the claim of the Southern Baptists’ Union and asked instructions as to whether I should present it in the form in which it reached me.

Since the date of that dispatch I have written to the consul at Hankow to procure from the claimants a more accurate and definite statement. It is quite likely that the claims would have been allowed if they had been presented at Chengtu by the American commission, but it is, on the other hand, most probable that claims made for “enforced traveling to Shanghai and return,” “extra incidental expenses,” “two passages to America”—for which you see the dispatch cited—if presented by me to the Yamên, will meet with vigorous objection.

The bill on its face shows that some of the missionaries only went to Chungking, and for these the charge for traveling expenses is only $100, while others went to Shanghai at a cost of $350, and two went from Chungking to America at a cost of $700. * * *

I await your instructions.

I have, etc.,

Charles Denby.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 2496.]

The Tsung-li Yamên to Mr. Denby.

Your Excellency: In September last we received a dispatch from you announcing the appointment of three officials—Messrs. Read, Barber, and Cheshire—as a commission to proceed to Szechuan to investigate the missionary cases in that province, and this Government ordered the provincial judge of the province to cooperate with them.

We have now received a dispatch from the governor-general of Szechuan stating that the judge and the taotai in charge of the bureau of foreign affairs have made a joint report as follows:

On the 28th of May, 1895, at the English dispensary in Chengtu, near the Shrine of the Four Sacred Men, a dispute arose with the populace, leading to a row in which the dispensary was destroyed. Rowdies profited of the incident to stir up trouble, and the disturbance was resumed on the next day at the chapel on Shensi street. These incidents were reported in a memorial, and thereafter the most active leaders were arrested, of whom Wang Shui-ting and five others were tried and were reported to the Throne for execution.

Just as the question of indemnity was under consideration we learned that the American Government had ordered Mr. Read and his fellow-commissioners to come to Szechuan to investigate these matters. In connection therewith the Tsung-li Yamên detailed the provincial judge of this province to cooperate with said commissioners in their investigations and also ordered the taotai Lai Ho-nien to enter the bureau of foreign affairs as director. Mr. Read and his companions arrived at the capital of Szechuan on the 15th of last December. The judge and the taotai fixed a time for a conference and were engaged with them in deliberations daily until the 28th December. By that date a conclusion had been arrived at between them as to the chapel on Shensi street, where the damage to house and furniture had been comparatively heavy, and as to the missionaries at Silver Hill, in Lin Shui department, who had suffered from fright. Both these cases were of the [Page 50] Methodist Episcopal Mission and it was proper to deal with them together.

It was agreed that in these Methodist cases payment should be made of 30,325 taels of the weight known as “nine-seven,” and it was decided that of this sum 10,325 taels, at the city of Chungking, was to be delivered in two installments to Rev. O. H. Cady in full settlement.

As to the case of the residence on White Pagoda street, in the city of Lo Shan Hsien, the case of the five-room straw house at Five Stars Mountain, in Ching Fu Hsien, the case of the glass flower pot at the Lu Chia Gardens in the city of I Pin Hsien, and the case of the missionary Pei Chi-i, also known as Pei Chi-i (using different characters with same sound), who lost his baggage on the boat, Mr. Read and the other commissioners said that these were all affairs of the Southern Baptists’ Mission; that the members of this mission not having yet submitted a statement of their losses it would be necessary to report the matter to Mr. Denby, American minister at Peking, who would communicate with the Tsung-li Yamên as to the settlement thereof. Mr. Read and the other commissioners having, therefore, stated that each mission must attend to its own affairs, and that it was inconvenient for them to delay longer, we assented and acted accordingly. We made out an agreement in Chinese and English, signing and sealing three copies thereof in English, in conclusion of the business, and on the 1st of January Mr. Read and his companions left Chengtu for Tientsin.

We request your examination of the terms of the agreement we have entered into as to those missionary cases in the province of Szechuan, which we have settled by our deliberations.

This Yamên observes that the Methodist Mission’s Shensi street and other cases have all been amicably settled by commissioners appointed by our respective Governments, so that no further correspondence regarding them will be necessary. It can not be said that China is unmindful of her relations with other States.

Regarding the cases at Lo Shan Hsien and elsewhere, mentioned in the foregoing document, which are the affairs of the Southern Baptists, we are constrained to await a communication from your excellency as to whether or not a report of their losses has been submitted by the members of that mission, whereupon we will discuss the settlement thereof.

In anticipation of such a communication we forward this dispatch to you and request a reply.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 2496.]

Mr. Denby to the Tsung-li Yamên.

Your Highnesses and Your Excellencies: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 19th instant wherein you set forth a copy of the report of the judge and the taotai at Chengtu to the governor-general of Szechuan touching the proceedings of the American Szechuan commission.

You therein state that the claims for damages done by rioters in May last to the property of the American Methodist Missions were settled by the commission and the Chinese officials. This fact is confirmed by the report of the commission to the Government of the United States, a duplicate copy whereof has been received by me.

[Page 51]

You further state that the claims of other American missionaries for damages were not settled because they had not been presented to the commission, and you particularly mention the Southern Baptists.

You farther state that you await a communication from me touching the said claims, upon receipt of which you will discuss the settlement thereof.

In reply to your communication I have to state that I will transmit the claims of the Southern Baptists to you as soon as they reach me.

The report of the American commission has been forwarded to the Government of the United States, and I await its instructions touching the same.

Charles Denby.