Minister Rockhill to the Secretary of State.

No. 197.]

Sir: Referring to my No. 172 of December 18 last, with regard to the danger to navigation in the Gulf of Pechili resulting from the presence of floating mines, I have the honor to inclose a translation of a note recently sent by the foreign office to the doyen of the diplomatic corps, showing the steps taken by the Chinese Government to remedy this evil.

I have, etc.,

W. W. Rockhill.

The Prince of Ch’ing to the German minister, dean of the diplomatic corps.

Your Excellency: With regard to the matter of the capture and destruction of floating mines, I had the honor to receive a dispatch from your excellency on November 11, asking if notice of reward could not be published extensively and measures taken to remove this danger from the sea. Upon the receipt thereof I immediately communicated with the superintendents of trade for the north and south, and replied to your excellency’s dispatch, as the records show.

I now have the honor to state that I have received the following letter from the superintendent of trade for the north:

“Effective measures should certainly be taken immediately to be rid of these floating mines entirely. Upon receipt of your instructions I at once communicated with Admiral Sa, commander of the northern and southern division of the admiralty, directing him to order his subordinates to act in accordance with your instructions, and to publish notices to the effect that 2,000 taels would be given as a reward for the capture of one of these floating mines. Subsequently a reply was received from Admiral Sa, saying that the ships Haich’en, [Page 304] Haich’ou, and Feiying, previously sent to capture and destroy floating mines, had captured several; that he had later sent 11 students and petty artillery officers on 11 merchant vessels armed with one-pounders to make a careful search and to blow up all mines they met; that in the last few months one of the artillery officers, Chang Ti-lung by name, had destroyed six of them, having been most successful; that upon receipt of my instructions he had sent proper orders to all the boats, and had posted notices of the reward offered in Chinwangtao, Tengchou, Chefoo, and Jungch’eng; and, finally, that the students and artillery officers were still to continue their patrol up and down the coast.”

Having received this information, it becomes my duty to transmit it to your excellency, as copied above, for your information.

A necessary dispatch.