Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.

No. 475.]

Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 461, of November 30 last, with reference to the removal of General Tung Fu-hsiang with his baneful influence and inordinate power, from the immediate Vicinity and control of the court, I have the honor to inclose herewith translation of a communication received from Prince Ching and Li Hung-chang, embodying an Imperial decree ordering him to Kansuh; and disbanding 5,500 of his troops.

There is in this action a pretense of punishment, but it can in nowise be accepted as commensurate with his offense. If, however, the decree is carried out and he and his troops are removed, the court [Page 56] will be left free to punish other criminals, and to return, in due time, without hindrance, to Peking. Severer punishment for General Tung Fu-hsiang may be opportunely demanded a little later on.

I have, etc.,

E. H. Conger.

Prince Ching and Li Hung-chang to Mr. Conger.

Your Excellency: We had the honor, some time ago, to receive your excellency’s note, in which you observed that General Tung Fu-hsiang should not be near the court, etc.

We at once memoralized the Throne, setting forth the observations made by your excellency, and on the 3d of December a decree was issued as follows:

“Tung Fu-hsiang, general of Kansu, formerly rendered meritorious service in the successive battles he waged against the Mohammedans in Kansu. After his transfer to Pekin he showed ignorance of the condition of affairs existing between China and foreign countries, and failed to respectfully sympathize with the Court’s sincere purpose of cultivating friendly relations (with the powers). Whenever questions came up he generally treated them in an abrupt, careless manner, and it is right that he should be severely punished; hut taking into consideration that (matters in) the province of Kansu are of great importance, and as the said general is certainly the right man in the right place there, we will treat his offense leniently, and order that he be deprived of his rank but allowed to retain his office. Of the various troops under his command we have ordered that 5,500 be dismissed. We further order that the said general, with the various battalions of his bodyguard or own forces, at once return to Kansu and there take up a commanding or strategical position and establish defenses, so that we may see whether he exerts himself.”

As in duty bound we inclose the above decree for your excellency’s information.