Minister Rockhill to the Secretary of State.
Peking, China, April 3, 1906.
Sir: I have the honor to inclose a cutting from the China Times (a Tientsin paper) of March 21, with regard to an attempt which is being made by the Chinese to pay the indemnity by popular subscription.
The project originated in Peking in August of last year, in the unofficial class. The idea was that if the movement became widely known the necessary amount could be raised without great hardship in a comparatively short space of time, and that if this were done the powers would consent to some arrangement for immediate payment of the principal, and in this way China would be relieved of a great burden of interest.
The appeal met with a quick response, but it was decided that no money was to be paid until the authorities should designate a receiver, and it was also considered essential that the Government should pledge itself to use the money for no other purpose than the payment of the indemnity. When these matters had been arranged the project was presented to the grand council and approved by the throne. The princes and high officials then began to subscribe largely and the nonofficial classes of the province of Chih-li have already contributed over a million taels. Letters have been sent to the provinces, and the first report of the bank which has been designated to receive the subscriptions will appear shortly.[Page 275]
This effort is interesting as a popular movement; it was organized and is managed by the people, and though it has official sanction of the highest kind, officials take no part in directing it.
I have, etc.,