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Choi Pong Ik has a son who is a dissolute fellow. Some of the governor's runners made him, the son, drunk and enticed him, on a promise that he should receive rank and the position of the magistrate, to sign an agreement to pay 100,000 silver yen. The governor holds the agreement and is trying to torture the amount out of the father. Two Christians, & Chai Hu and Kang Sin Yong, being acquaintances of the yamen runners, gained admission to Choi Pong Ik's cell immediately after the beating and found him unconscious. It required an hour's rubbing and bathing to bring the man back to consciousness. He is still lying in the criminal cell, awaiting further torture. The governor has threatened him with death.
Choi Pong Ik has been a Christian for several months, and he was arrested at his home, on returning from a Sunday morning church service. The above complaint from Mr. Noble was not taken up by me.
HORACE N. ALLEN.
Mr. Noble to Mr. Allen.
PYENG-YANG, KOREA, October 13, 1902. DEAR MR. ALLEN: In reply to your letter of the 6th instant, regarding our troubles in Pyeng-Yang, I consulted Dr. Moffett and Mr. Lee, and after a careful review of the grounds of our complaints have decided that, for the sake of our future peace and safety, it is necessary to present our several matters to you for such action as you may deem wise. I am mailing you the inclosed facts after each item has been under review and discussion by the committee and approved as they are now written. Mr. Moffett will mail you to-day under a different cover matters relating to troubles with the governor, of which you are already acquainted.
In addition to the inclosed, it was thought necessary to ask your attention to other incidents. While not in each case in a condition to formulate into a direct charge of violation of treaty rights, yet will show the attitude of the Pyeng-Yang officials toward us.
Some time ago, in April, the present magistrate called upon me and charged me with stealing land, having already arrested a man for selling me a house. I took the magistrate over the property of our mission and showed him our late purchase and the extension of the compound to inclose it. Being unable to substantiate his charge, he left with the simple remark, “If you want land, ask me." This was the first sign of his hostility toward us.
A short time ago a soldier passing our compound raised his rifle and said, “Let them give me one word and I will shoot." This was said among a group of Koreans, who reported it to me. While the act was nothing in itself, it illustrates the spirit that has taken possession of the official class and the soldiers of this place. The fact is the more emphasized by the late open threat of the magistrate, to which I referred in the case of Mr. Yun.
Several times servants of the magistrate have come into our compound and called off our workmen. I am unable to give the names of the runners or the men taken, as we had so many of the latter.
Another fact is the persecution of our Christians. While it is the last to which I feel at liberty to call your attention, except in the case of the monstrous cruelty practiced upon Mr. Choe, it is no less a blow aimed at us, namely, the discrimination that is made against the Christians in the stupendous squeeze under the name of building a new palace in the city.
The heathen are squeezed within the bounds of their property, while our people are often compelled to sell their homes and move off and wander away.
At Pong-nong-dong, a town across the river from this city, a servant of the magistrate who had come bent on a squeeze was himself beaten by a resident of that place. The man who gave him the puishment had no relation to our church. A Christian interfered in the affair and helped the servant back to the city. The next day the magistrate sent a number of his runners to the town and singled out our people and beat them unmercifully for the thing of which they had no part or knowledge.
The governor and magistrate feel very secure in their position, and while the latter was beating Choe, of whom I have written, he would call out, “Do you think your faith will help you? Try it." Trusting these facts will prove clear in what I have tried to represent to you, I am, etc.,
W. A. NOBLE.
PYENGYANG, KOREA, October 16, 1902. DEAR MR. ALLEN: The above account is made up from the statement of Mr. Hunt, Mr. Lee, Syen On Chun, Yi Hak Syon, and Mr. Hunt's “boy,” the accounts agreeing in every essential particular.
While the man was in jail, and no money had been received and no satisfaction in any way, Mr. Lee telegraphed to me in Seoul, and I laid the case before the legation. The present situation is as given above.
To us it seems clear that our treaty rights have been denied us by the governor; that he seized lumber belonging to us, the transaction having been completed, the lumber paid for, and the lumber removed to another place pending removal after Sunday; that we laid the matter politely before the proper official, the kamni, and not only received no satisfaction, but were in fact told-by the governor's arrest and beating of our agent-that we could not buy lumber and that he had the right to compel the reversal of the transaction.
We should be glad to have you press this case until full satisfaction is secured, if in your judgment also our treaty rights have been clearly invaded. We ask this because of the principle involved and because to ignore this means constantly increasing trouble in the future and a contempt for the rights of foreigners on the part oi officials, underlings, and people. While the financial loss is a small one, I think the most effective way to make an impression upon officials, and especially the underlings, is to insist upon their making good the loss occasioned by their unlawful proceeding. Mr. Hunt, Mr. Lee, and I agree that 1,000 nyang (a little over 100 yen) is a justly low estimate of the financial loss occasioned, considering Syen On Chun's loss in money and time and the breaking up of his business and his loss in interest on his money and Mr. Hunt's loss in money and delay in building. However, the money in itself is not a consideration, but the moral effect of obtaining it is a great factor.
Aside from this, anything you can do to impress the governor here with the fact that he must observe the treaty rights of foreigners resident here will be most grateful to us. I have taken pains to lay this clearly before you, because I believe it is such a clear case of violation of rights that it is one which you can justly press with the Government and through it reassert our rights, which are certainly held in great contempt just now by the officials here, who openly boast that they will make it hard for the foreigners and that they will kill a number of the Christians.
I have written of this case as it appeals to us, but if for any reason you think it unwise to press it you will understand, of course, that we are not insistent upon our rights, but prefer to waive them as a matter of expediency. Mr. Noble is writing you also of their difficulties, different from ours, but showing very clearly the attitude of the officials toward foreigners. Yours, very sincerely,
SAMUEL A. MOFFETT.
Mr. Ilay to Mr. Allen.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, January 13, 1903. Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 531, of November 19 last, reporting your inability to obtain satisfaction from the Korean Government for unwarranted conduct on the part of the governor and magistrate of Pengyang, whereby Americans residing in that port, open to trade, have been injured in property and pained and humiliated by having their servants severely beaten. You give the particulars of the cases of the Reverend Messrs. Hunt, Morris and Noble and Miss Estey, all of whom are missionaries.
In reply I have to say that these cases justify vigorous representations on the part of this Government to the Emperor of Korea. You are accordingly instructed to make such representations until proper satisfaction is obtained. I am, etc.,
Mr. Allen to Mr. Ilay. No. 598.]
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES.
Seoul, April 8, 1903. Sir: In reply to your dispatch No. 218, of January 13, answering mine of November 19, last, No. 531, regarding my inability to obtain satisfaction from the Korean Government for unwarranted conduct on the part of the governor and magistrate of Pengyang, and instructing me to continue to make vigorous representations until proper satisfaction is obtained, I have the honor to inform you that with those instructions I was able to move the foreign office to do its utmost in the matter, and, after frequent strong telegraphic instructions from the minister for foreign affairs, the governor of Pengyang finally paid over the 100 yen to Reverend Mr. Hunt, of the Presbyterian mission.
I had instructed Mr. Hunt that an apology was to accompany the payment, but he disregarded my instructions and accepted the money from a messenger sent by the governor, giving a written receipt for the same. I was sorry for this, and so informed Mr. Hunt; yet it seems that the matter had better be dropped with the payment.
The minister for foreign affairs says he fears he can do no more, and that payment by a Korean in such a case is a greater admission of guilt than an apology. Also, the Americans inform me that the result has caused the practice of “squeezing" to almost stop at Pengyang.
I inclose duplicate receipt of Mr. Hunt, sent to me through the foreign office. I have, etc.
HORACE N. ALLEN.
PYENGYANG, March 9, 1903. Received of Pyengan governor, Min Yung Tyul, 100 yen (silver).
Wm. B. HUNT.
Mr. Flay to Mr. Allen. No. 233.]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, May 18, 1903. Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 598, of the 8th ultimo, reporting the paynient to Reverend Mr. Hunt of 100 yen in satisfaction of the injury and humiliation caused him by the unwarranted conduct of the governor and magistrate of Pyengyang. Your treatment of this case is approved. I am, etc.,
CEREMONIAL AUDIENCE OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS WITH THE
EMPEROR OF KOREA.
Mr. Allen to Mr. Hay.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Seoul, January 2, 1903. Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I joined with my colleagues of the diplomatic corps in declining to attend a ceremonial audience at the palace on New Year's day, for the reason that we had been unsurcessful in securing attention to certain important matters, and had therefore applied for a joint audience, which was refused. As a result of our action a satisfactory arrangement was made for the discussion and settlement of our matters, and we therefore attended the audience.
The circumstances are as follows:
On November 5 last we addressed a joint note to the minister for foreign affairs, complaining that we were unable to secure attention to matters relating to the transfer of property in Seoul, and we made certain propositions looking to a removal of the difficulties under which we were laboring. Although we asked the minister to fix a date for receiving us for the consideration of these matters, and intimated that a failure to give attention to the matter would compel us to apply for a joint audience, we got no reply. (Inclosure 1.)
On December 5 Mr. Hayashi, the Japanese minister and doyen, was obliged to remind the minister of the failure to attend to our request, and to ask for a joint audience. He, of course, wrote for all of us.
This communication brought a reply from the minister, dated December 12, in which he said he could and would attend to the matter. He failed to do so, however. (See inclosure 2.)
We therefore met on the 29th instant and decided to decline to attend the New Year ceremonial audience, which we did in a joint note, a copy of which I inclose (No. 3).
I was empowered to state personally that the receipt of a formal dispatch fixing a date early in January for the joint discussion of these matters by the minister for foreign affairs and ourselves would induce us to recall our refusal to attend the audience. Such dispatch was received on the 31st (inclosure 4), and we accepted it and agreed to attend the audience (inclosure 5).
I may add that I drafted these notes to the foreign minister, including that of November 5, and the suggestion to decline to attend the audience was also my own. I felt confident such course was necessary and that it would result as it did. We may possibly be able now to effect a settlement of difficulties that the Korean Government should never have placed in our way, though the matter may still require action by the Governments represented.
I inclose a copy of the remarks I made on the occasion of the audience. * * *
The results of our action so far are very satisfactory to the foreign representatives. We meet the foreign minister on the 10th instant for a full discussion of the matter. I have, etc.,
HORACE N. ALLEN.
[Inclosure 1-Translation.) Joint note to Mr. Cho Pyeng Sik.
SEOUL, Norember 5, 1902. MONSIEUR LE MINISTRE: We have the honor to address your excellency on the subject of the issue of title deeds for land in and about the city of Seoul, which city has been duly opened to foreign residence by treaty.
At present when land is purchased by foreigners in accordance with their treaty rights the personal deed of the Korean owner is transmitted to the governor with an application for the issue of an official deed.
Of late great delay and annoyance has been experienced in nearly every one if not all of these cases.
Objections are raised on the score of the land being too near some Government establishment, or of its being destined to official uses. Deeds specifying the measurements of the area purchased are refused as well as those for land without houses.
All this is manifestly in violation of the treaty stipulations.
When delay is complained of the governor excuses himself on the ground that the issue of deeds is a matter controlled by the home office, to which we can not apply.
With a view to placing the matter on a satisfactory footing, we have the honor to request that all matters relating to the transfer of land, in or about the city of Seoul, to foreigners, be placed in the hands of the governor or his deputy, and that an imperial decree to this effect be issued. In this decree we would ask that the official be instructed to give prompt attention to such matters, to refrain from all obstructive measures not warranted by treaty, to include measurements of ground in the deeds issued, and to raise no objections to the transfer of land alone.
The land question has become a serious matter for each one of us, and we would request your excellency to favor us with an early and satisfactory reply, which will assure us that our nationals will no longer be subjected to restrictions in the full enjoyment of their treaty rights in this respect.
Failing the receipt of such an answer we shall be obliged to apply for a joint audience with His Majesty the Emperor in order to lay the matter before him, prior to requesting instructions from our respective Governments on the subject.
We would at the same time draw your excellency's attention to the obstructive measures frequently adopted by the Kamnis at the various treaty ports, whereby foreigners are refused deeds for property within the 10 li radius or within the limits of the city of Pyeng-Yang.
We avail, etc., . (Signed by the members of the Diplomatic Corps.)
FOREIGN OFFICE, December 12, 1902. YOUR EXCELLENCY: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the date of the 5th instant, in which you informed me that regarding the matter of the deeds of property bought by the foreigners in the city and other places, the diplomatic corps submitted on the 5th ultimo their opinions; that on the 27th of last month you wrote me for an appointment of time for the diplomatic corps to come to see me on the same subject, but that you were wondering why I did not answer, and that the diplomatic corps desired to have a joint audience, asking me to arrange for an audience.
I beg to inform you that I am very sorry that it needs my thinking over, and it caused me to delay in answering you. I am the representative of the Korean Government, and all matters between the foreign representatives and the Korean Government shall be discussed and managed with me. Therefore I do not think it necessary to have an audience with His Majesty merely on this matter. I will appoint a time and invite you and the foreign representatives to meet at my office, when I will not certainly delay any longer to manage it. I have, etc.,
CHO PYUNG SIK, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Joint note to Mr. Cho Pyung Sik.
Seoul, Korea, December 29, 1902. MONSIEUR LE MINISTRE: On November 5 last we had the honor to address your excellency in regard to certain difficulties we were experiencing in regard to property rights in Seoul and the ports, asking for a joint interview with you for the discussion of the subject, and intimating that we might be obliged to carry the matter before His Imperial Majesty the Emperor in a joint audience.
Not being favored with a reply, on December 5 we again addressed you on the subject asking for a joint audience with His Imperial Majesty.
On December 12 you replied that an audience was unnecessary and that you were able to arrange the matter, which you said was a part of your duty.