Mr. Hay to Mr. Conger.

No. 289.]

Sir: I inclose herewith for your information a copy of a letter from Mr. Thomas D. Holmes, stating that Major Siao, the Chinese military official of Kinhwa, province of Chenkiang, China, rescued him and his family and another family—eight persons in all—from certain death at the hands of a Chinese mob in that city, and that for this act of kindness Major Siao has been recalled to Hangchao and degraded.

The disgrace or other vindictive treatment of any official counseling friendly action toward foreigners or aiding them in their perilous straits is indirectly but none the less effectively a wrong to foreigners. A striking instance of this was seen in the decapitation of the two friendly members of the tsungli yamen and in the beheading of Chang Yen Hoon, formerly minister of China in Washington. Such acts not only deserve the severest censure, but persistence in their commission must inevitably impair if not destroy confidence in the protestations of the Chinese Government of its desire and purpose to punish the authors and abettors of antiforeign outrages.

I am, sir, etc.,

John Hay.
[Inclosure in No. 289.]

My Dear Sir: I, T. D. Holmes, was, with my family, about seven years in the interior of China. Last July we were hopelessly surrounded by a Chinese mob and were about to be murdered, but Major Siao, the military official of the city Kinhwa, in Chenkiang province, where we were, rescued us at the risk of his own life and gave us a private bodyguard and escort of 20 soldiers to Shanghai, and lent us $100 besides. For this act of kindness I learn that he has been recalled to Hangchao and degraded. Can not our Government look into the matter and, through our minister, protest to the viceroy at Hangchao against such treatment? The man had been in that position for eighteen years, and was a good official.

I beg that this matter may be looked into, for if he had not helped us two families of eight persons would have been murdered.

I am, very truly, yours,

Thomas D. Holmes
(Class 1890, U. of R.)
Dr. D. J. Hill.