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On behalf of the Imperial Government, I beg to express to you, and through you to the Government of the United States, the sincere gratification which the Imperial Government feels at this friendly and just action on the part of the Government of the United States. Accept, etc.,
PROTECTION OF NATIVE CHRISTIANS BY MISSIONARIES.
Mr. Wu to Mr. llay.
Washington, October 25, 1901. SIR: 1 have the honor to inclose for your information a translation of a dispatch addressed to me by His Excellency Liu Kun-yih, viceroy at Nanking, relative to a recent rupture at Hsin-Chin between Chinese converts of the American Protestant mission and those of a Roman Catholic mission.
The unsatisfactory state of things, to which the viceroy calls attention, is due to the indiscriminate assistance rendered by some missionaries to Chinese Christian converts who, relying upon the “ protection” of the missions, oftentimes defy the authority of the local officials, whose efforts to preserve peace and promote the general welfare of the people are thus set at naught.
It is sincerely hoped that the foreign governments concerned and the missionary societies, whose object is to do good in China, will carefully consider the matter and accord to Chinese officials all possible cooperation in their efforts to promote and maintain peaceful and harmonious relations between Chinese Christians of different sects, as well as between Christian and non-Christian Chinese.
Trusting you will take such action as you may deem proper in the matter, I beg to renew, etc.,
[Inclosure.) Translation of a dispatch from Viceroy Liu at Nanking to Minister Wu ai Washington,
August 19, 1901.
According to the dispatch received on the 27th of the sixth moon of this year (August 11, 1901 ) from the governor of Kiangsi Province, he states that during the fourth moon of this year (last part of May and first part of June) the Roman Catholic and Protestant missions rented houses in the city of Hsin-Chin for the purpose of carrying on missionary work. The Roman Catholic mission is under French protection, while that of the Protestants is under American. Each of these missions has admitted converts to the number of from three to six hundred. Some of these became converts in view of a lawsuit pending, in order to get the protection and assistance of the missions, the plaintiff joining the Roman Catholic mission and the deiendant the Protestant. There being no foreign missionaries placed in charge of the missions, they were managed by Chinese who were not able to control their own converts or reconcile their differences. The magistrate of Hsin-Chin, with the cooperation of the military authority, used the utmost effort time and again to reconcile the parties, but was unable to induce them to come to a satisfactory understanding.
On the afternoon of the 30th of the fifth moon (July 15) it was suddenly reported that some Roman Catholic converts intended to go to the Protestant chapel and create a disturbance. When the said magistrate heard the news, he went at once with the military authority to the scene to prevent it. On their arrival, to their astonishment, these people had already been there, and after having caused injury to the head man of the chapel, Yang Tsu-jui, and destroyed a small portion of its
furniture had then dispersed. When the said magistrate had examined the wound of the injured person, he proceeded to the Roman Catholic mission with the object of warning them against further disturbance, but meanwhile the people from the Protestant mission in turn gathered many of their converts and went to the Catholic mission to wreak their vengeance. The magistrate and others endeavored to put a stop to this. Then they secretly went to the homes of the three Roman Catholic converts, Mr. Chen, Mr. Hsi, and Mr. Pan, and raised a disturbance, wounding three persons. The said magistrate again hastened to investigate and found that the wounds were fortunately slight. Nevertheless, the head man of the Protestant chapel and others persisted in their course, and that same night, with an increased number of men and arms, went to the Catholic mission and broke the tablet of the chapel over its entrance. The civil and military authorities repeatedly endeavored to prevent trouble. When the crowd saw that the authorities had received slight injuries, they desisted from breaking into the chapel and dispersed. . At the time of the disturbance, at the request of the prefect of Lin-Kiang, Captain Ma, in command of the troops at Lin-Kiang, hastened to the scene with a small force to preserve order. At the same time the prefect deputed Ho Chang-chi to investigate the cause of the trouble, so that he might act jointly with the magistrate of Hsin-Chin to settle the matter. In the prefectural city of Lin-Kiang, there being only a Roman Catholic chapel, the prefect wrote to the head of the mission, Mr. Mei Wang-hsing, requesting him to enjoin upon the converts not to create any more disturbance.
The Protestants have not established a chapel in the prefectural city nor is there any Protestant missionary there, so the bureau of foreign affairs had to ask Mr. Lih Keh-sz, the Protestant missionary stationed at the provincial capital, Nanchang, to write to the missionary of the disturbed district to restrain their own converts from creating further disturbance.
When the above information was received from the prefect of Lin-kiang, the governor of Kiang-si deputized expectant-taotai, Kiang Feng-ching, acting in concert with the local, civil, and military authorities, to suppress the disturbance and to take proper measures to arrest and punish the offenders. In the meanwhile the governor instructed the bureau of foreign affairs to depute an official to inquire of Mr. Lih Keh-sz in person of the condition of affairs. He replied that no (foreign) missionary had been sent there to teach the Christian doctrine; that there were very few converts; that he had written to Mr. Chin Tiao-sheng, who had already been sent to that place to investigate into the case, to warn the people there not to create any disturbance, and that if they did not attend to their own business and submit to authority they would be handed over to the local authorities to be dealt with according to law. According to the report of expectant-taotai, Kiang Feng-ching, Yang Tsu-jui and Chen Peng-hsiang did not embrace the Christian faith until last year, when they formed partnership to open a store. Their trouble arose from their badly kept accounts. In the third moon of this year, Chen Peng-hsiang joined the Roman Catholic mission and Yang Tsu-jui the Protestant. They instituted a lawsuit in the fourth moon, and, each relying on the protection his mission afforded him, refused to obey the summons to appear before the court. The head of each mission listened only to one side of the story and did not examine into the other side. Consequently, on the 30th of last moon (July 15) Chen Peng-hsiang, together with a number of Roman Catholic converts, went to the Protestant mission, dragged Yang Tsu-jui out, assaulted and injured him; besides they destroyed a small portion of the furniture of the mission. After this occurrence, Yang Tsu-jui immediately collected a number of friends and proceeded to revenge himself. They broke the doors and windows of the Roman Catholic chapel and destroyed the furniture belonging to the families of three Catholic converts; they also slightly wounded a man and
The civil and military authorities who went to suppress the disturbance were also slightly injured. On the sixth day Yang Tsu-jui's brother attacked and injured the Catholic convert, Liu Tai-lai, also. Chen Peng-hsiang and Yang Tsu-jui are the ring leaders of this trouble. As both have made their escape, their families are now urged to induce their return. The Protestant missionary is willing to search and produce the Protestant ringleader, but Mr. Mei Wang-hsing, the Roman Catholic missionary, in his letter openly put himself forward to protect his offending convert. On this account, Chen Peng-hsiang, relying on the protection of his mission, refused to appear before the court. It is now intended to direct the magistrate to discover and arrest all those involved in the trouble, without regard to their religion, and have them brought to trial and dealt with accordingly. At the same time the magistrate is to write to the heads of the Roman Catholic and the Protestant missions, requesting them to excommunicate Yang Tsu-jui and Chen Peng-hsiang, and that if they still refuse to appear before the court, they should be stripped of their official titles, arrested, and punished. The above is received from the governor.
On a former occasion, when trouble arose at a place called Shih-kong between Roman Catholics and the Protestants, the French consul-general sent the vice-consul to the place to inquire into the case. At that time all the converts of whatever religion who were involved in the disturbance were handed over to the local authorities to be dealt with; the American consul also agreed to help in the settlement of the matter. The governor of Kiang-si was requested to have the case investigated and fairly and justly dealt with.
In the present instance, the Roman Catholic and Protestant converts at the city of Hsin-chin, on account of the trifling matter of collecting debts, took sides with their respective principals in the case, fought each other, even injuring the local civil and military authorities. From this it may be seen that these converts availed themselves of mission protection to act in defiance of law. This is not only an injury to the country, but also a stain upon the good name of the missions. A united effort should be made to have the ringleaders of the trouble arrested and punished severely as a warning in the future. It is certainly not proper to afford them unlawful protection by which they can set the law at defiance, which would result in no end of trouble.
Moreover, if two sects of the same religion repeatedly antagonize each other, how could the converts and nonconverts be expected to live together in peace? As the object of the missionaries is to spread their doctrine and to exhort people to do good, they ought to devise a plan to restrain their converts and to refrain from receiving candidates into their churches without discrimination. In case of litigation between the converts it is hoped that the missionaries will give no more interference, but show impartiality to all, to the end that the different missions may not antagonize each other, and that the converts and nonconverts may live in harmony. This would not only be a blessing to the country, but also an evidence that the real intention of the Christian religion is to do good. Besides replying to the governor's dispatch and writing to the French and American consuls-general at Shanghai for their information and proper action and also to the officials concerned, I have the honor to bring this matter to your attention and beg you to confer with the honorable Secretary of State, in order that a satisfactory arrangement may be made by which the converts and the nonconverts may live in harmony in the future.
I await your reply.
Mr. Way to Mr. Wu.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, October 30, 1901. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note No. 213 of the 25th instant, inclosing, for the Department's information, the translation of a dispatch addressed to you by His Excellency Liu Kun-Yih, viceroy at Nanking, relative to a recent rupture at Hsin-Chin between Chinese converts of the American Protestant mission and those of a Roman Catholic mission.
You express the hope that the foreign Governments concerned and the missionary societies will carefully consider the matter and accord to Chinese officials all possible cooperation in their efforts to promote and maintain peaceful and harmonious relations between Chinese chieftains of different sects, as well as between Christian and nonChristian Chinese.
In reply I have the honor to say that, in the absence of indication of the American missionary society of which the Protestant native mission at Hsin-Chin is an offshoot, the Department can at present do no more than communicate your note and its inclosure to the United States minister at Pekin for an investigation.
I very much regret the state of things disclosed by Viceroy Liu's dispatch. Accept, etc.,
Mr. Ilay to Mr. Conger.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, October 30, 1901. Sir: I inclose herewith, for your information and for an investigation and report by you of the facts of the case, a copy of a note from the Chinese minister here inclosing the translation of a dispatch addressed to him by the viceroy at Nanking relative to a recent rupture at Hsin-Chin between Chinese converts of the American Protestant mission and those of a Roman Catholic mission. I am, etc.,
Mr. C'onger to Mr. Ilay No. 887.]
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Peking, January 21, 1902. Sir: Referring to Department's instructions No. 105 of the 30th October last, requesting a report as to the facts relative to a rupture between Protestant and Roman Catholic converts at Hsin-Chin, in the province of Kiangsi, I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of correspondence with Consul-General Goodnow on the subject.
The report is not quite so clear or satisfactory as it might be, but the essential facts of the case are evident from the consul-general's correspondence with the viceroy at Nanking. I have, etc.,
E. H. CONGER.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Peking, December 11, 1901. Sir: I incloge herewith a copy of a dispatch from Viceroy Liu at Nankin to the Chinese minister at Washington regarding disturbances at Hsin-Chin caused by ill feeling between Protestant and Roman Catholic converts there.
I request that you will carefully investigate this matter and report the circumstances of the case fully to this legation as soon as possible. I am, etc.,
E. H. CONGER.
('ONSULATE-GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES,
Shanghai, January 8, 1902. Sir: Replying to your No. 1271 of December 11, I have to inclose herewith letter from His Excellency Liu, viceroy at Nanking, and my reply thereto, both regarding the disturbances in Kiangsi, to which your dispatch refers. The viceroy answered expressing satisfaction with my reply, and I have heard of no further trouble affecting our missions.
Some months ago the French vice-consul visited Nanchang and the surrounding region. He seems to think that the missions are not so much to blame for the troubles in Kiangsi as are some people (Chinese) who take the name of converts for the protection gained therefrom. In many cases, he says, these people have absolutely no connection with any church.
a Printed, ante.
If the above-mentioned inclosures do not give the information you wish, I shall do what I can to get further detailed information covering the present state of affairs in Kiangsi. I am, etc.,
John GOODNOW, Consul-General.
His Ercellency Liu Kun-yih to Consul-General Goodnow, re disturbances in Kiangsi
between Roman Catholics and Protestants.
On the 20th of the sixth moon, twenty-seventh year of Kuang-hsu (August 4, 1901), I received a communication from His Excellency Li, governor of Kiangsi, stating that on the 5th of the sixth moon the acting prefect of Lin-kiang fu” reported to him that on the 2d of the sixth moon the Hon. "Chou hong Ket," district magistrate of Hsin-chin, brought to his notice that during the fourth moon the Roman Catholics and Protestants rented rooms in his district, put up their signs, and propagated their religion; that the two bodies numbered somewhere from 300 to 600 converts, most of whom entered the church on account of pending lawsuits. Complainants became Catholics and defendants entered the Protestant church in order to secure the protection of the church (literally,“ priests and fathers”). The missionaries did not live in these chapels and had only a few men in charge of the place, who were unable to control the converts, so that each one did as he pleased.
The two parties being at variance, the district magistrate went in company with the military officer to exhort them till his tongue and lips were parched, yet neither Catholics nor Protestants would yield an inch. Suddenly in the afternoon of the 30th of the fifth moon he learned that a number of the Catholics intended to make a disturbance at the Protestant chapel, so he went at once with the military to maintain order, not dreaming that they would get there before him, and that they would have dragged out and beaten the Protestant leader of the trouble, “ Yang Tsu-jui," who was slightly hurt. They also damaged the furniture of the chapel, after which they dispersed.
Having examined the injuries, the magistrate went to the Catholics to remonstrate. After this the Protestants collected a goodly number of their people and proceeded to the Catholic church to retaliate; and the magistrate went to restore order. At first the crowd dispersed, but stealthily they crept back to the three Catholic families, “Chen,” “Hsi,” and “Pan,” to beat them, wounding three persons. The magistrate proceeded posthaste to stop them, and found on examination that the injuries inflicted were but slight.
Who would have thought that the Protestant ringleaders in this affray, “Yang Tsu-jui” and others, would persist in getting more men together to proceed at midnight to the Catholic church armed with weapons to make a disturbance in front of the church door, pulling down the sign and smashing it? Again and again the magistrate with the military officer went to restore order, and in so doing were themselves slightly wounded; but luckily the crowd was dispersed before they succeeded to break into the church.
About the same time the prefect requested the colonel of Sing Kiang to proceed at midnight with soldiers to quell this disturbance, and deputed the expectantmagistrate, “Ho Chang-chi,” to proceed to the place to find out the origin of the trouble and to assist Mr. Chou, the magistrate of the place, in settling their disputes.
Now, within the city of Lin-kiang there is only the Catholic church, so the preject sent a letter to the Catholic priest, Mei Wang-hsien, requesting him to enjoin on his church members that they must not cause any further disturbance of the place.
As there was no Protestant chapel in the city nor any Protestant preacher, word was asked to be sent to the bureau of foreign affairs with the request to ask Rev. Mr. Nichols at Nanchang to write at once to his preacher that the troublesome members should be kept under control to prevent further trouble.
The above reports being laid before me (the governor), I appointed Kiang Feng ching, an expectant-taotai, as well as the military officer, Chao Ching-ting, to proceed with 100 petty officers and braves to the place of trouble, and through the taotai I sent instructions to the local authorities to seize the disturbers of the peace and to deal with them. I also sent word to the bureau of foreign affairs asking the official in charge to send a deputy to interview.
Mr. Nichols said that he had sent no preacher there and that he knew of only a few (Protestant) Christians in the disturbed neighborhood. Steps were then taken to let the people of Lo chio fu know that they must not disturb the peace, and that th, local authorities were empowered to seize and punish any one not complying with his orders.