Mr. Denby, chargé, to Mr. Olney.

No. 2536.]

Sir: Referring to my dispatch, No. 2533 of the 23d instant, regarding the Kiangyin riots, in which the property of the Southern Presbyterian Mission was destroyed, I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a dispatch received to-day from Consul Jones at Chinkiang, giving a full account of the incident, and of the steps he has taken to secure protection and redress. It is believed that there will be no difficulty in reaching a satisfactory local settlement of this case.

I have, etc.,

Charles Denby, Jr.,
Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.
[Inclosure in No. 2536.]

Mr. Jones to Mr. Denby.

Sir: I have the honor to inform you, beyond what my telegram conveyed, that a serious disturbance occurred at Kiangyin, within this consular district, on the 12th instant, in which the American Presbyterian Mission at that place was attacked by a mob of several hundred people, the premises broken and torn and robbed of the furniture and personal effects. There were two American missionaries occupying the premises at the time, Messrs. R. A. Hayden and L. L. Little, who succeeded in making their escape unharmed to a neighboring fort and came on here the next day and laid their complaint before me.

The circumstances of the disturbance, as related to me by Messrs. Hayden and Little, are as follows:

These missionaries had rented the house in which they live for a period of ten years, and had paid the rent for five years in advance. About ten days before the disturbance a Chinese man, known as the “Doctor,” and of doubtful reputation, came to see the missionaries (the same man who was employed by the Rev. Mr. Du Bose in the purchase of some property at the same place two years or more ago), stating that he called at the instance of the proprietor of the premises to take away the windows and doors of the house, which, he claimed, were not included in the articles of lease, or in lieu thereof to pay him $100. This the missionaries declined to do. A few days after the proprietor himself called, he said, to induce them to extend the period of the lease one more year and pay him the rent in advance, and that he would, in further consideration, give them a feast. This they agreed to and paid [Page 73] the additional rent. The feast was given, but in some way the “Doctor,” the intermediary, was left out of the entertainment and “lost face.”

A few days after this, one morning at daylight, a next-door neighbor, a widow woman, gave an alarm, crying out “Robbers,” etc. The missionaries ran out and found a back gate open, and evidences of some person or persons having been inside. They thought that someone had been there to steal their pigeons, and paid no more attention to it. The next night the servants of the house discovered a man in the back yard and tried to catch him, but he got away. Some three or four days subsequent to this, on the 12th of May, a mob of a hundred or more people led by this “doctor” came to the house with the intention, he said, to search the premises for two missing children. They were denied admission. It was known later that placards were posted that morning announcing this search. In the meantime the crowd was greatly increased in numbers, and the magistrate was sent for who, in a little while, came accompanied by about a dozen runners of the Yamên. The missionaries told him that there was a report that two missing children were concealed on their premises and that the mob had come to search for them, and requested that he, the magistrate, would make the search and thus allay the excitement and suspicion of the people. The magistrate made the search and nothing was discovered.

At this point the “doctor” came forward and told the magistrate that he knew the missing children were concealed in the house or on the premises and that he could find them. The magistrate told him to make the search. He proceeded immediately to the back yard and pointed out the place where the children were buried. The proper implements were provided him, and he was told to dig, and did so. In a few moments a bundle was unearthed, wrapped in coarse matting, which, upon being opened, disclosed the dead body of an infant about 18 months old and that apparently had been dead fifteen or twenty days. Upon this the magistrate turned to the missionaries and said, “Here is a dead child found buried on your premises; what have you to say about it?” By this time the crowd, greatly augmented, was much excited and had begun crying out, “Kill the foreign devil,” etc. The magistrate attempted to quell the disturbance with his unarmed runners, but all ineffectually. The fort was only ten minutes away, but he did not send for assistance from the soldiery, and the mob, unopposed, wrecked the house and looted its effects. The missionaries made their escape through the back premises and reached the fort in safety and soon after came here.

On this statement being made to me I immediately communicated it to the taotai and requested that he telegraph the magistrate to arrest the rioters and investigate the circumstances of the matter. The taotai sent a deputy to Kiangyin to make searching investigation and to report. This deputy has not yet returned. In the meanwhile the viceroy has ordered a speedy settlement.

I should be glad of any advice or suggestions concerning the affair.

The commanding officer of the United States cruiser Boston, now at Shanghai, on learning of the trouble through a letter from me to Consul-General Jernigan, and whose ship is undergoing some repairs, sent an officer to confer with me, in the event a demonstration should be required, to show to the Chinese officials and people that the American Government is watchful of the interests of her citizens and will no longer tolerate the spirit of outrage on the part of Chinese mobs. I do not yet know the temper of the officials in the matter, as they await [Page 74] the report of the deputy sent to the scene before receiving any demands I may make. But I do not anticipate any obstructions in the settlement of the affair.

I shall endeavor in the settlement of the Kiangyin affair, as you suggest in your telegram, to secure at the same time the property at Chu-chou Fu for the Presbyterian Mission.

I have, etc.,

A. C. Jones, Consul.