Mr. Goodnow to Mr. Cridler.

No. 285.]

Sir: I have to confirm my dispatch of July 31:

Shanghai taotai says Tsungli Yamen instructed him to tell me my cipher message 22d July will not be delivered Conger. If I will send message in English Tsungli Yamen will decide regarding delivery that message after seeing it.

On the 22d of July I gave the Taotai a cipher message to Mr. Conger telling the anxiety with which all were waiting authentic news. I asked him to answer me fully, giving date in cipher and such details of persons in our legation that there would be no question as to the authenticity of the message. On the morning of the 31st of July the Taotai’s private secretary came to me and delivered verbally the message as I wired to you, and asked me then to give him an English message at that time. I told him that 1 did not care to do business in that informal fashion and would prefer that the Taotai write me so important a matter as a message from the tsungli Yamen. The secretary left promising to bring me this in writing. About 2 o’clock [Page 262] another secretary appeared, asking me as from the Taotai not to forward to you anything of the message given to me that morning. “As they were afraid you would be very angry and as His Excellency Sheng had wired the Tsungli Yamen asking them to deliver the message.” I answered that of course I must send you the message as I received it. Li Hung-chang also told me the same afternoon that he had wired the Tsungli Yamen urging them to deliver my message, and he also hoped that I would not feel bounden to transmit the message to you.

Several messages have been taken by Sheng, by Li, and by the Taotai from consuls here for their ministers. To all the others the reply has been given that no word has been received from Pekin with reference to their message, and it was apparently through indiscretion that the Taotai told me this.

I have the honor to be, sir, etc.,

John Goodnow,
Consul-General, Shanghai.