Mr. Jones to Mr. Rockhill.
Chinkiang , August 29, 1896 . (Received Oct. 5.)
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, on the 27th instant, of letter of instructions No. 86, dated July 22, 1896, in reply to which I beg respectfully to state that I reported the riot at Kiangyin to the consul-general at Shanghai and the minister at Peking as soon as I learned of the outbreak and supposed that one or the other or both would report the same to the Department of State, reserving my report to the Department until I could learn all the particulars after an investigation, so that my report should give an accurate account of the whole affair.
In regard further as to the riot, I may inform you that the magistrate at Kiangyin, on my demand, was not only degraded in his rank, but dismissed absolutely from office. This action, however, in his case came so promptly that the taotai was not exactly prepared for it, inasmuch as the tender of the payment of the indemnity demanded, $9,007.12, was intended to fall upon him as a further punishment. With my consent, therefore, at the taotai’s request, he was temporarily put back in place until the money be paid, and the deeds for the mission property, heretofore rented, be secured by him as mentioned in my report. The money has been paid and the matter of the deeds is about concluded. In his final dismissal within a very short time I will have the taotai issue a proclamation and posted throughout the city and districts, stating the punishment of this official, according to instructions.
The outbreak was not premeditated, except so far as the three conspirators were concerned, and there are no placards posted in the town. The missionary, the Rev. J. W. Haden, stated that one of his servants told him that he saw a placard, but upon a thorough inquiry no one else could be found to corroborate this statement. Mr. Haden in his narrative of the occurrence said that the trouble came upon them that day “like a bolt from a clear sky.” Consequently the tipai, the local head man, could not be held responsible.
All the principal participants, however, who could be found were arrested and tried, sixteen in all, and punished by imprisonment, fine, the caaque, and the bamboo.
I must inform you also that Huan Chi-yan, the leader in this disturbance, the chief conspirator against the missionaries, who was condemned to death by decapitation, escaped the penalty of the law by dying in prison by natural disease. When his death was reported, I sent the Rev. J. W. Haden, with the interpreter of the consulate and a deputy of the taotai, to view and identify the corpse, which they did, and Mr. Haden certified to the identity in writing.[Page 80]
The other two conspirators condemned to death await their execution in prison, carefully guarded, which will be carried out, according to Chinese customs, early in the autumn, the exact date of which will be notified to me by the taotai.
I have, etc.,