Page images
PDF
EPUB

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.,

W. W. ROCKHILL.

[Inclosure in dispatch No. 274.)

[From the China Times, Tientsin, March 21, 1906.)

THE PATRIOTIC FUND,

Since the starting of the “ Kuomin Chuan” or “Patriotic fund of the people" in north China in 1905 the Empress Dowager has several times expressed her appreciation of the idea. As Her Majesty is very pleased with it, she has now subscribed 100,000 taels to the fund, while the Emperor contributes 30,000 taels, the Empress 10,000 taels, and 50,000 taels have been collected among the imperial concubines, eunuchs, and male and female attendants in the palaces. The Empress Dowager has given orders that the money contributed toward the fund is to be separately deposited in the Hu-Pu Ying Hang, or National Bank of China, for the payment of the 1900 indemnity to the various foreign powers, and not a single cash of it should be appropriated for any other purpose, Government or private.

The Secretary of State to the American legation, Peking.

[Telegram-Paraphrase. ]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, April 28, 1906. (Mr. Root directs that the Chinese Government be asked to sign bond identic to those given other powers on account of indemnity. If thought advisable, form for verification of financial calculations before signing is to be submitted.)

Mr. Rockhill to the Secretary of State.

No. 307.]

AMERICAN LEGATION,

Peking, China, May 14, 1906. Sir: I have the honor to confirm your cipher telegram received April 29.

I have drawn up a form following closely the British bond and sent it to Mr. Moir, the American delegate on the bankers' commission in Shanghai. I have asked him to make the necessary calculations and have the form printed as soon as possible. When received I will forward it to the department for approval and verification of the figures. I am, etc.,

W. W. ROCKHILL.

a Supra.

RIGHTS OF MISSIONARIES TO ACQUIRE PROPERTY IN THE

INTERIOR OF CHINA.

Minister Rockhill to the Secretary of State.

[Extract. )

No. 196.]

AMERICAN LEGATION,

Peking, January 13, 1906. Sir: I have the honor to transmit to you herewith copy of a letter which I addressed on the 9th instant to the Rev. E. (). Boen, a naturalized American citizen now residing at Hsi Hsien, in the Province of Ho-nan, where he is preaching the principles of Christianity as a “ free lance” missionary, not being connected with any Christian mission or church, the Missionary Society under whose auspices he came to China having severed all connection with him and he having joined no other.

I shall be greatly indebted to you if you will instruct me as to the rights of such missionaries, belonging to no particular church or missionary society, to acquire property in the interior of China under the provisions of Article XIV of our treaty with China of 1903. This article guarantees him the right to peacefully teach and practice the principles of Christianity, but it only recognizes the right of “ missionary societies of the United States” to rent and to lease in perpetuity, as the property of such societies, buildings or lands “in all parts of the Empire for missionary purposes." I have, etc.,

W. W. ROCKHILL.

[Inclosure.]

Jr. Rockhill to Rer. E. O. Boen.

[Extracts. ]

PEKING, January 9, 1906. Sir: I bave the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication dated December 22, 1905, inclosing your reply to the complaints made against you by the Honan foreign office and others. At your request I return to you herewith the letter addressed to yourself by Mr. Argento.

In reply to your letter it becomes my duty to bring to your notice the provisions of our treaties with China regarding the residence and work of American missionaries in the interior of this Empire.

By Article XIV of the treaty of 1903 it is provided that

“Any person, whether citizen of the United States or Chinese convert, who, according to these tenets, peaceably teaches and practices the principles of Christianity shall in no case be interfered with or molested therefor.”

By the same article it is further provided that

“Missionary societies of the United States shall be permitted to rent and to lease property in perpetuity, as the property of such societies, buildings, or lands in all parts of the Empire, for missionary purposes," etc.

According to the treaty of 1858, Article XXVIII

“ If citizens of the United States have special occasion to address any communication to the Chinese local officers of Government, they shall submit the same to their consul or other officer to determine if the language be proper and respectful and the matter just and right, in which event he shall transmit the same to the appropriate authorities for their consideration and action in the premises."

All American citizens.in China are subject to the jurisdiction of American courts, and as there are but few consuls in the Empire American citizens are required to live at certain specified places, so as to be within reach of their consuls. By the very liberal provisions quoted above missionaries are excepted from this arrangement, and the special privileges accorded them are granted on the supposition that missionaries are law-abiding and peace-loving people who will avoid strife and will not require constant interference on their behalf by the consuls. But by your own showing you have quarreled with your fellow-missionaries, with your neighbors, with the local officials at Hsi Hsien and Lo Shan, and with the middleman who secured you a house in Lo Shan. It is impossible to believe that any man who is "peaceably teaching and practicing the principles of Christianity can have just occasion for quarrel with so many classes of people at the same time. If you are not complying with the conditions under which you are allowed to live and preach in the interior, the Chinese officials have the right to bring you to the consulate at Hankow for trial, as I wrote in my letter of August 4, 905, to the consul-general at Hankow.

I must remind you, too, that, while you are allowed by treaty to teach peaceably the principles of Christianity in China, you can not on that account preach in the streets against the will of the magistrates. Missionaries should always be in the lead in complying with local ordinances which do not require them to violate their religious convictions.

You will note that the second quotation from the treaty of 1903, given above, gives the right to rent property only to missionary societies in the United States, not to individuals; but the copy of the lease which you have inclosed to me shows that you have rented in your own name. If you are sent out by any properly incorporated society in the United States you should use its name in all leases, deeds, etc.; otherwise, if the Chinese authorities were to object to the renting of property in your own name, it is questionable whether your lease could be upheld.

Your account of your dealings with the officials seems to indicate that you have not complied with the provisions of Article XXVIII of the treaty of 1858, the third quotation given above, which requires you to transact business with the officials through the consulate.

I fear you do not fully understand the requirement that you should have a passport, to which you make reference. The passport proves to the local officials your right to travel and preach outside of the open ports.

I regret exceedingly that any circumstances should have arisen to make it seem necessary to the foreign office of Honan to take the action which it has taken in this matter, and I sincerely trust that by the efforts of Consul-General Martin to secure you due protection in the peaceable discharge of your duties, and by your own efforts to live on good terms with the officials and people of your district, any necessity for further complaint upon your part or upon that of the officials may be entirely avoided.

So long as you comply with the requirements of the treaties this legation will, of course, do all in its power to safeguard your rights, but I need hardly remind you that for the success of your work the good will of those about you is indispensable. I have, etc.,

W. W. RockHILL.

The Secretary of State to linister Rockhill.

[Extract.] No. 123.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, March 22, 1906. Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 196, of January 13 last, requesting the department to instruct you as to the rights of American missionaries in China, belonging to no particular church or missionary society, to acquire property in the interior of China, under the provisions of Article XIV of our treaty with China of 1903.

The department has carefully examined the history of the question of the right which American missionaries, as individuals, possess to

acquire and hold property in the interior of China. This right must be sought in the various treaties of the United States with China, or it must be obtained indirectly by an application of the favored-nation clause. An examination of these treaties clearly shows such a right to be legally nonexistent; but with respect to certain localities in China there is, nevertheless, an equitable or quasi legal right based upon custom. As to the rights which American missionaries possess to acquire and hold property for the purposes of their mission, the department holds that such rights are legally, and therefore legitimately, based solely upon Article XIV of the treaty of 1903.

Notwithstanding its adverse opinion on the question of the legal rights of our missionaries, as individuals, under our treaties with China, the department desires to recognize, and does not wish to weaken, any equitable or quasi legal rights which may have arisen from the custom. The fact appears to be that in practice foreigners, non members as well as members of missionary bodies, have purchased land in many instances in all parts of China, and that the Chinese authorities have connived at, acquiesced in, and actually ratified so many such transactions that there is great force in the contention, often made by foreigners in China, that the treaty prohibition against foreigners buying land can no longer be urged in China. These purchases have been made by various railway, mining, and other enterprises; by foreign firms in the interior, for business purposes; and by foreign residents of all nationalities and occupations, for summer homes and for various other purposes.

In meritorious cases, in which the circumstances were such as to give rise to no objection on other grounds than the unwillingness of China to consent to sales of land to Americans in the interior, this department would find great force in the argument that inasmuch as China, through her officials, has in numerous instances permitted the subjects of other nationalities to purchase land in certain localities in the interior, this Government may, with good reason, consider such purchases as precedents establishing the right of Americans, whether members or nonmembers of a missionary body, to make similar purchases.

The department directs your attention to the memorandum of the solicitor of the department, accompanying this instruction, which shows the origin and development of the rights and privileges of American missionaries from the treaty of 1858 until the present treaty of 1903. I am, etc.,

ELIHU Root.

The Acting Secretary of State to Minister Rockhill.

No. 135.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, April 16, 1906. Sir: I inclose herewith a copy of a dispatch from the consulgeneral at Hankow a reporting that the magistrate at Siang-tan, Honan, refuses to register a deed of land acquired by the mission of the United Evangelical Church, unless all reference to the nationality of the mission is kept out of the deed.

a Not printed.

Inasmuch as the concluding paragraph of Article XIV of the treaty of October 8, 1903, by which the right to rent and lease, as their own property, buildings and lands in all parts of the Empire, is expressly stipulated in favor of missionary societies of the United States, necessarily implies the establishment of the national and corporate character of those societies as a condition precedent to the stamping of their title deeds by the local authorities, the strange requirement of the magistrate at Siang-tan, that the evidence of the treaty right of such a missionary society to acquire and hold property shall be excluded from the title deeds, becomes in fact a denial of the treaty right, and the substitution of an invalid for a valid act of registration.

It is probable that this point of view may already have occurred to you and been acted upon, but if the case now reported by the consul-general at Hankow should not have been brought to your attention, you will bring the matter to the attention of the Chinese Government, and demand that deeds for American mission property, properly drawn up and valid under our treaties with China, be registered I am, sir, etc.,

ROBERT BACON.

Minister Rockhill to the Secretary of State.

No. 313.]

AMERICAN LEGATION,

Peking, May 24, 1906. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the department's No. 135, inclosing a copy of dispatch from the consul-general at Hankow reporting that the magistrate of Siang-tan, Honan, has refused to register a deed for land acquired by the mission of the United Evangelical Church unless all reference to the nationality of the mission is kept out of the deed.

In reply I have the honor to inform you that the matter was brought to my attention by the consul-general; that I immediately submitted it to the Chinese Government, and that I have received a favorable reply in a note dated March 6, stating that the deeds in question had already been duly stamped.

I inclose herewith copies of the correspondence with the foreign office relating to this subject. I have, etc.,

W. W. ROCKHILL.

[Inclosure 1.]

Mr. Rockhill to the Prince of Ch'ing.

PEKING, February 13, 1906. YOUR IMPERIAL HIGHNESS: I have the honor to call the attention of your imperial highness to complaints made by American citizens, missionaries in the Province of Honan, that the magistrate at Siang-tan refuses to stamp deeds for mission property unless the characters representing the word "American” are era sed from the deeds..

I am in receipt of two dispatches from the American consul-general at Hankow regarding the matter. The first, received the 10th instant, incloses a letter from Reverend Doctor Dubs, of the mission of the United Evangelical Church, in which he states that he had secured property for the society at Siang-tan, and that the deeds were made out to the society, whose Chinese name

« PreviousContinue »