The Chargé in China (Tenney) to the Secretary of State

No. 3208

Sir: With reference to a riot created by cargo-coolies in the British concession at Kiukiang on the 14th of March last, which was the subject of the Department’s cable No. 69 of March 26th and my reply thereto No. 70 dated March 31st last in which I stated that there had been no casualties and that the reports of the so-called riot had been greatly exaggerated, I have the honor now to enclose copy of a letter from the British Chargé d’Affaires which accurately describes the events on that occasion. In a letter to the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs the Legation summarized a detailed account sent from the office of the American Consul General at Hankow to the effect that after the incident between the coolies and the policeman, the coolies struck work and invaded the concession. The mob took the British superintendent of police away from the concession and subjected him to many indignities. When affairs were in this dangerous situation, since there was no British gun-boat in port the British Consul requested the two American ships in port to land an armed party to assist in restoring order and protecting foreign life and property.

The American sailors were in the concession at Kiukiang only a few hours and they left when the Chinese authorities sent soldiers to protect the residents and property there. It was unnecessary to use force in restoring order, but two Chinese coolies were slightly injured.

I have [etc.]

Charles D. Tenney

The British Chargé in China (Lampson) to the American Chargé in China (Tenney)

My Dear Colleague: On the 14th of March a riot was created by cargo coolies in the British Concession at Kiukiang. The trouble [Page 804] appears to have been started by a constable pushing a coolie, carrying a bag of rice, who refused to leave the footpath as directed by the constable in accordance with the Concession Regulations. According to the reports I have received the man fell down, was not injured, but malingered. The mob of cargo coolies became excited, set upon the constable in question and knocked him about together with three of his fellow constables; they further dragged the British Inspector of Police off to a yamen in the city, kicking and maltreating him on the way.

The situation was somewhat alarming and might well have developed more seriously had it not been for the courtesy of the Commander of the United States gunboat Elcano who landed men in response to the request of His Majesty’s Consul and cleared the mob out of the Concession. In the opinion of His Majesty’s Consul the mob were handled with tact and consideration, no injury being caused to any but two coolies were pricked with the bayonet on account of their slowness in moving.

I desire to express my thanks and those of the British community at Kiukiang for the assistance kindly rendered by the Commander of the Elcano and trust that you will cause an intimation of my appreciation to be conveyed to him.

I am [etc.]

Miles W. Lampson