Mr. Denby to Mr. Olney.
Peking, August 13, 1896. (Received Sept. 28.)
Sir: The uprising against the American missionaries at Kiangyin was reported to the Department in this legation’s dispatches No. 2533 and No. 2536, of the 23d and 29th May, respectively, and the settlement of said case was reported to the Department by Consul Jones in a dispatch of the 24th ultimo, a copy of which was forwarded by Mr. Jones to this legation.
After sentence had been pronounced upon Huan Chi-yao, Chen Sing-long, and Tsiang Suk-chu, as reported by Mr. Jones, certain American missionaries, Messrs. Haden and Little, stated to the United States consul-general at Shanghai that there were grave doubts as to the guilt of the said Tsiang, and suspicions that his confession had been obtained by torture. On behalf of the American missionaries and with a view to prevent an unjust execution, Mr. Jernigan wrote this legation with the view to obtain a rehearing of Tsiang, at which hearing should be present a competent foreign interpreter of the Chinese language. Mr. Jones, on the other hand, maintained the guilt of Tsiang, and denied the use of torture except that he was compelled to kneel on chains, as is often done in criminal courts in China.
The chargé d’affaires of this legation discussed this matter twice with the Yamên with a view to ascertaining if a retrial of Tsiang were practicable. The ministers of the Yamên stated that they themselves had instructed the provincial authorities to deal severely in this case, and that they could not consent to revise their finding. They stated, further, that they were compelled to act with the utmost rigor in order to [Page 79] protect the Government of China from the consequences of missionary riots. They deprecated the attempt of the missionaries to defend Chinese convicted after fair trial, and, while asking that no objection to the execution of the sentence be offered by this legation, they stated that they would not consent to any alteration or reconsideration of the verdict.
I have informed the consul-general and Mr. Jones of the Yamên’s attitude, and have stated that this legation is not at liberty to take further action in the premises.
I have, etc.,