Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.

No. 436.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that the foreign representatives are making some progress toward an agreement upon general proposition for a settlement, as you have already learned from my telegrams. We shall continue to strive to agree upon all essential points before presenting any to the Chinese plenipotentiaries.

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On the 31st ultimo I proposed the following:

For a further guaranty against future trouble an Imperial edict shall be issued and published everywhere in the Empire, making all viceroyal, provincial, and local officials responsible for order in their respective jurisdictions, and whenever anti-foreign disturbances or any other treaty infractions occur therein, which are not forthwith suppressed and the guilty persons punished, they, the said officials, shall be immediately removed and forever prohibited from holding any office or receiving any official honor.1

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There has heretofore been little trouble in securing removal of minor officials, but the removal, except in rare cases, of those of high grades has been impossible. And even when it has been done they have been very soon thereafter appointed elsewhere or honored and promoted. The case of Yü Hsien, governor of Shantung and Shansi, is in point.

In regard to the return of the Emperor, Prince Ching, Li Hung-chang, and other prominent Chinese think it not possible for the [Page 46] court to return here as long as a large force of troops remains. They will not come until they can be allowed at least to control and police the city and vicinity. Besides, the weather will soon be too inclement for them to travel; so that the probability is that we shall not see them until spring.

I have, etc.,

E. H. Conger.