Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.

No. 1615.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith copy of an Imperial edict of May 22, 1904, evidently issued for the purpose of inspiring the people with confidence in the ability of the Government to preserve peace, and urging them not to allow any idle rumors to disturb the regular order of business.

I have, etc.,

E. H. Conger.
[Page 135]
[Inclosure.—Translated from the Peking Gazette of May 22, 1904.]

Imperial edict.

Although the country has been favored with favorable rains during the present spring, still the price of grain has not fallen any as yet, and in fact the price of commodities in general has risen. This is doubtless accounted for by the fact that a state of war exists in the Eastern Provinces and there are too many wild rumors prevalent, which cause the commercial classes, in any business transaction, to stand by and look on without doing anything. Commodities therefore can not circulate freely, and this has a very bad effect upon trade and the general interests of the people.

China is on terms of mutual friendship with the various nations, and at the outset of the war between Japan and Russia she declared neutrality. She strictly maintains this neutrality at the present time and has not changed her position from the first to last. Now, therefore, let there be no anxiety either in this province or elsewhere, and let the Tartar generals and the viceroys again issue proclamations to all the people saying that they must conduct business now just the same as in times of peace. They should not take any stock in the idle rumors floating about and which cause them to become suspicious and fear to enter into business transactions. Then (if these words be borne in mind) will the commercial classes be benefited and the interests of the people in general be promoted.

Respect this.