Mr. Goodnow to Mr. Cridler.

No. 267.]

Sir: * * * On June 26 the viceroy instructed the Shanghai Taotai, Mr. Ferguson, and Sheng Tajen, director-general of railways, to meet the consular body in Shanghai to ask from the consuls assurances that the Nankin and Hankow vice-royalties would not be attacked provided the Hankow and Nankin viceroys protected life and property under their jurisdictions, regardless of what may happen in the north. The consular body sent to the Taotai as the jresult of this meeting the following letter:

I am directed by my colleagues to express our pleasure at receiving from your excellency and from His Excellency Sheng Tajen the assurances from Their Excellencies Chang Chih-tung, viceroy at Wuchang, and Liu Kun-yi, viceroy at Nankin, that they undertake to keep the peace and to protect life and property in their provinces, and to hold themselves responsible for any damage done by riot or insurrection in such provinces. We have to thank their excellencies, and to express our high appreciation of their good intentions.

We desire to inform their excellencies that the admirals of the allied fleets at Taku have proclaimed that they only fight against the Boxers and those who strive to prevent the rescue of the foreigners in danger at Pekin and other places. We desire you to assure their excellencies that our Governments have had no intention, and now have no intention, either individually or collectively, to take any hostile action or land any hostile force in the Yangste Valley so long as their excellencies are able to, and do, maintain the rights of the foreigners in their provinces as provided for in the treaties with the Government of China.

This was agreed to by all the treaty consuls here and signed by the senior consul. I wired you on June 26 as follows:1

Since this meeting the viceroys and the governors of these provinces have been very active in taking precautions against trouble and preparing to meet it should it arise. In almost all the cities and villages of the Yangtze Valley proclamations have been posted by the proper Chinese authorities commanding the peace and that foreign rights must be acknowledged and foreigners and their property protected. My reports from the missionaries in the smaller cities of this district now are of the most encouraging character.

In Shanghai, however, the conditions are not very favorable. I wired you June 25:

No communication Pekin since 14th; gravest fears.

The situation at Pekin and the fighting in and about Tientsin has absolutely stopped all trade. There are now eight foreign men-ofwar in this harbor. This, together with the fact of the stoppage of [Page 250] the steamboat lines and the shutting down of the cotton mills, has caused many to become apprehensive that the foreign gunboats are here for the purpose of attacking the town, or that the unemployed Chinese might riot for the sake of loot, and in consequence of these fears thousands of Chinese are leaving the city daily. This has also made a run on the banks and a monetary panic, as the Chinese are converting their property into cash and are refusing to accept bank notes, but insist on having silver, which they are hoarding. To attempt to allay this feeling the consular body has to-day issued a proclamation, which I send you herewith.

This comprises the important events here up to the present time. Since the troubles began this office has been deluged with people coming from the interior, with newspaper correspondents, and all kinds of people with all manner of troubles.

Since Pekin has been closed to communication I have asked the consuls to keep me posted as to the situation in their districts, which they have kindly and thoroughly done. From their reports I can say that the various viceroys south of the Yangtze are taking the same position as the Viceroys Chang and Liu.

I ask your approval of my actions noted above.

I have the honor to be, etc.,

John Goodnow, Consul-General.

Consular proclamation to Chinese.

The following is a translation of a proclamation to be issued to-day in Chinese by the consular body:

“Owing to the troubles in the north, many rumors have been circulated in Shanghai which have unsettled the minds of the people. In their ignorance of the true state of affairs they have frightened themselves and each other, and in fleeing homeward from Shanghai have in many cases fallen a prey to robbers.

“We, the consular body at Shanghai, have consulted with the Chinese authorities regarding the protection of life and property in this neighborhood, and have agreed to act in cooperation in putting down any disturbance that may occur. The municipal council holds the volunteer corps in readiness for the protection of the settlement, and our war ships have taken up their positions in the river for the same purpose, and for that alone.

“With such precautions, both on shore and afloat, and with the cordial cooperation of the Chinese authorities, there is no reason why the troubles in the north need spread into these parts. There is no cause for alarm, and we hereby give notice to all that the presence of foreign men-of-war in the river is only a measure of precaution for the protection of the settlement, and that there is no foundation of truth in the idle rumors with which many persons are now exciting themselves.

Joaquim Maria Travassos Valdez,
Consul-General for Portugal and Senior Consul.
  1. Printed ante.