Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.
Peking, China , October 27, 1900 .
Sir: I have the honor to confirm my telegram of the 26th instant, and to say that on yesterday the several foreign ministers met to formally begin the discussion of terms of a settlement to be presented to the Chinese plenipotentiaries. Each had been instructed that all the powers had agreed substantially or in principle with the French propositions; and as the question of punishments was the first of these, it was the first taken up. After much discussion it was unanimously decided that the punishment of death should be demanded for 11 officials, whom, it is agreed by all foreign ministers and Chinese Government, are chiefly responsible for the crimes committed, to wit, Princes Tuan, Chuang and I (Pu Ching), Tsai Lien and Ysai Ying, Duke Lan, Tung Fu-hsiang, Yü Hsien, K’ang I, Chao Shu-chiao, Ying Men. The manner of their death was much discussed, but it is believed that whatever we demanded, most of them would either voluntarily or by Imperial order commit suicide, so we simply say “death.” I have to-day received a note from Li Hung-chang, which I inclose, informing me that Kang I had died and that Governor Yü Hsien had taken his own life by swallowing gold leaf.
The details that come to us of the horrible murder and mutilation of our missionaries in the interior are so frightfully shocking that less severe punishment can not be asked, and I believe the Chinese Government are so impressed by the terrible results of their efforts to get rid of the foreigners that they will readily accede to our demand unless the court is held in the power of those who are to be thus punished; [Page 44] but whether or no, they should be made to do it and to furnish ample and satisfactory proof of its accomplishment. Provision must also be made for adequate punishment for all provincial and local officials who may be proved to be in any way responsible for or accessory to the crimes.
I inclose copy of my correspondence with Prince Ching and Li Hung-chang regarding the rumored probability of removal of the Yangtze viceroys.
I have, etc.,