Mr. Denby to Mr. Sherman.

No. 2765.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose a translation of a communication from the Tsung-li Yamên relating to the prevention of counterfeiting and the, importation of machinery to be used for making counterfeit money.

To this paper I have sent an answer of which a copy is inclosed.

I have, etc.,

Charles Denby.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 2765.]

The Tsung-li Yamên to Mr. Denby.

Your Excellency: The princes and ministers have the honor to inform the minister of the United States that on the 28th of May, 1807, they received a communication from the Tartar-General of Foochow, embodying a report from the officials of the board of foreign affairs in the matter of the casting of silver coins. The board observes that recently there have been several cases of arrests of persons in Amoy and in the Min district who have counterfeited coins; that these dishonest persons have circulated false reports that the silver dollars coined by the Provincial Government of Foochow are not fit for circulation, and if prompt measures are not taken to arrest this evil the present good method in force of coining will come to a stop, as the people in general will entertain suspicions.

It is only requisite that severe punishment be inflicted on the offenders; then the legitimate coins will be in circulation to advantage and the populace will be satisfied.

In the coining of counterfeit money it is necessary that machinery be used. It is right that instructions be issued that coining machinery made in China should not be sold to the people. As to machinery [Page 108]made in foreign countries, it seems proper that the Tsung-li Yamên should address the foreign ministers at Pekin, requesting them to inform their secretaries of state, or foreign offices, that in future it will be necessary that all coining machinery imported into China must be accompanied by a permit issued either by a commissioner of customs or a customs’ taotai. Further, the machinery must not be sold privately to Chinese. A fine will be inflicted for violating this rule. It is further suggested that instructions be issued to the ministers superintendent of trade for the north and south, as well as to all the commissioners of customs and the naval authorities at the various ports, to take action in good earnest in searching all vessels entering the ports, and if coining machinery is found on board without a proper permit the importer will be arrested and punished and the machinery confiscated.

The Yamên would observe that the counterfeiting of silver dollars is detrimental to foreigners and Chinese alike.

Last year some of the foreign ministers were most concerned in regard to the exportation from China of counterfeit coins, as the traffic was very injurious to trade, and the Yamên was requested to take active steps in the matter and to arrest and punish the offenders.

The request made by the Tartar General of Foochow in regard to prohibiting the importation of coining machinery is to preserve the purity of coins, which your excellency will quite understand and agree to.

Instructions have been issued to the ministers superintendent of trade for the north and south, as well as to the inspector-general of customs, to take action accordingly, and in addressing the minister of the United States the princes and ministers express the hope that he will take action in like manner.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 2765.]

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 10th instant, relating to the prevention of the importation of machinery to be used for counterfeiting.

I have sent a translation thereof to the Department of State. At your instance I issued last year stringent instructions to the consuls of the United States to take all possible steps to prevent counterfeiting or the importation of machinery intended to be used for that purpose, and their cooperation in the matter is now assured.