Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.

No. 423.]

Sir: I have the honor to confirm Department telegrams of September 22 and 29, and mine of October 1, 3, and 4.1 I also inclose copy of Imperial decree mentioned in my telegram of the 3d instant, and which has to-day been received by the dean of the diplomatic corps from Prince Ching. The punishments so far named are grossly inadequate. Titles of nobility can easily be restored, and it is not uncommon for a Chinese officer to be degraded and soon thereafter to be reinstated or promoted to a higher place. Governor Yü Hsien and General Tung Fu-hsiang, who, with the exception of Prince Tuan, were the worst of all, are not mentioned in the decree.

The question of punishment is most important, but, in my judgment, it may well be left until after preliminary negotiations are begun.

The arrival of Li Hung-chang is still awaited. More German troops are arriving, while American and Japanese are being withdrawn. [Page 212] The foreign ministers all seem to be waiting definite instructions, so no apparent progress is being made. However, I shall do whatever I properly may to facilitate the preliminary negotiations.

I have the honor to be, etc.,

E. H. Conger.

Translation of an Imperial decree issued by the Emperor at Tai-yuen Fu, Shansi.

On the 25th of September the grand secretariat received a decree as follows: The trouble at the present time which broke out between China and foreign countries is a revolutionary movement quite out of the ordinary, and has been the cause of bringing calamity upon us. This was not in accordance with our wish, and it is all due to the princes and ministers of state having participated in and protected the Boxer banditti movement, thus embroiling us in trouble with friendly nations, causing injury to our State and our removing from the capital.

We certainly can not but acknowledge that we are at fault and reprove ourselves. The princes and ministers having without cause stirred up the present trouble, it is urgently necessary that they should have meted out to them various degrees of severe form of punishment.

Let Prince Chuang, Prince I, Tsai Lien, and Tsai Ying (the fast two princes of the third order) be deprived of their rank or title of nobility. Prince Tuan we treat more leniently, and he is hereby removed from all his official appointments and handed over to the Imperial clan court for the determination of a severe form of penalty; he is also deprived of his official salary. Duke Lan, and Ying Men, president of the censorate, are ordered to be handed over to the yamen concerned for the determination of a severe form of punishment. K’ang I, assistant grand secretary and president of the board of civil office, and Chao Shu-chiac, president of the board of punishments, are to be handed over to the censorate and board of civil office for the determination of a penalty, in order to make an example of them.

We have been charged and intrusted by our ancestors with the performance of an important post. Our only hope is to serve and protect the public interests, regardless of others. The princes and ministers have not served the country as good statesmen, and they have themselves to blame. This is understood by the officials and people of the Empire.

  1. Printed ante.