Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.

No. 416.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith translation of Prince Ching’s reply to my informal note of the 16th instant regarding the return of the Emperor to Pekin, copy of which I transmitted in my No. 413 of the 16th instant.

I have the honor to be, etc.,

E. H. Conger.
[Page 202]

Prince Ching to Mr. Conger.


Your Excellency: On the 16th instant I had the honor to receive your excellency’s note, in which you state that the main object of the expedition sent by the various foreign powers was the relief of the legations, and as soon as that was accomplished the ministers showed their willingness to terminate hostilities and open peace negotiations. Your excellency also pointed out that it is your personal opinion that permanent peace negotiations would be very much facilitated if the Emperor were to return to the capital; that the minds of the people are disturbed and nothing would reassure them more than His Majesty’s return. While he remains at a distance the prospect of a permanent settlement must remain doubtful, however successful I may be in arranging its terms, for it suggests that there will be no change in the policy of the Throne toward foreign powers and their subjects in China. Your excellency therefore suggested the advisability of making known to His Majesty the views expressed in your note, and to add that there need be no apprehension that if he returns he will be treated otherwise than with all respect.

In reply I beg to observe that on account of the reckless manner in which the disturbances have been caused by the Chinese banditti, which resulted in a revolution suddenly breaking out, the forces of the various foreign powers came to Pekin to relieve the legations. I feel a deep sense of shame that this should have been found necessary. Your excellency’s note is full of peaceful sentiments. You say that the return of His Majesty will have the effect of reassuring the minds of the people. From this it is evident that your excellency is interested in what is good and right and that you hold upright and noble views. Words are inadequate to express my gratitude and thanks for your excellency’s kindly expressions.

I have, together with some of the high ministers of Pekin, prepared a joint memorial to the Emperor requesting his return to Pekin. I shall have a copy of your excellency’s note made and send it to His Majesty, together with the other memorial, within a day.

The grand secretary, Li Hung Chang, has already left Shanghai for Tientsin and should be here in a few days. When the terms of the peace have been determined upon and settled China will not fail to see that they are wholly and sincerely acted upon. On no account will matters be attended to as heretofore, and your excellency need not be too anxious about this.

Cards with compliments of Prince Ching.