Mr. Goodnow to Mr. Hay.

No. 276.]

Sir: Continuing the narrative of my No. 272, I have to confirm my telegram of July 10:

Shangtung governor says legations standing fifth. Outlaws dispersing. Disbelieved.

Also your telegram of July 10:

Use whatever means of communication you may have to convey to Prince Ching and to Yung-lu the appreciation felt by this Government for their efforts in behalf of the protection of foreigners and the restoration of peace in China.

At once I attempted to forward your message. I have to confirm my telegram of July 13:

Attempting send your message Pekin. All messages since June 27 doubtful. Sheng asks, if ministers brought safe Shanghai, can troops be held Tientsin pending negotiations? Think him plotting delay, but forward it you for information.

In the course of my attempt to forward your message to Pekin I discover that no word has been had from Prince Ching or Yung-Lu since June 27, when Yung-Lu wired that the situation was desperate and that he had no further power. All telegrams since that time have come from Yuan Shih-kai, governor of Shangtung, and the authorities here profess not to know from whom he gets his information in Pekin, and when pressed are unwilling to personally guarantee the correctness of it. Beside the inherent improbabilities of the situation as given by these telegrams, Sheng, who is the director-general of the telegraph company, claims that the telegraph is not working to Paoting Fu, and that all telegrams and messages for Pekin must be sent to Tsinan Fu, capital of Shangtung, and sent thence by courier, a four or five days’ journey, to Pekin. On the other hand, Viceroy Liu’s secretary informs me that the viceroy sends telegrams to Paoting Fu, and thence by courier, a day’s journey, to Pekin. Thus you will see the whole matter of communication with Pekin is uncertain and unreliable. * * *

[Page 258]

I wired you July 13:

Governor Shantung wires Boxers, soldiers bombarding legation for final attack 7th. Fears extremely for ministers and our Chinese friends in Pekin. He and we fear worst.

On July 14 the North China Daily News claimed that they had bought from a subofficial in the telegraph office a message from the governor of Shantung to Sheng, the substance of which was that all the foreigners in Pekin were killed on the 8th. This was published here the 16th and telegraphed from here to all the news associations. Sheng officially denied the receipt of such a telegram and compelled the News to retract. Knowing that you must have seen the alleged dispatch in the newspapers at home, I wired you 16th:—

No reliable news from Pekin since my telegram 13th. * * *

I have to confirm my telegram of July 14:

Governors Honan, Shansi issued proclamations favoring Boxers. Barriers erected against them.

It was to be expected that these provinces, being in the north and closely identified with the province of Chihli, would take this stand. Promptly on receipt of this news Chang Chih-tung ordered the governors of Hupeh and Nganhwei to prepare to repel any incursions of soldiery from the first two provinces. He reports to us that this has been done and that there is no danger of any raid from either province. * * *

I have wired Consul Wilcox and acting Consul Lewis that they should have Americans come from out ports to protected places. This they are doing to the best of their ability; but it must be remembered that some men in Consul Wilcox’s district are a six weeks’ journey from Hankow. Some missionaries from Shantung are also retreating on Hankow, and it will be several weeks before that district will be thoroughly emptied of Americans.

Consul Martin was here several days last week, and reported that then only two Americans were left in his district.

Consuls Johnson and Gracey some days ago ordered all their missionaries to come in from the out-stations, and report no difficulty nor danger at present in their districts. In this district we still have missionaries at Ningpo, Soochow, and Hangchow. At these places the Chinese authorities are apparently using every endeavor to protect foreigners and are succeeding. Only men, however, are still at these stations. * * *

All the treaty consuls have united in a prohibition of the sale of arms and ammunition to the Chinese, except under special permit. * * *

Much excitement has been caused among foreigners and natives by reckless statements and untruthful telegrams published in local papers. I think a press censorship will be established to-morrow for local papers. There is only one American paper. It is printed in Chinese, and the owner expresses his entire willingness to come under the regulation of a censor.

I have the honor to be, etc.,

John Goodnow, Consul-General.