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official sanction. It is probably not too much to say that the arrangement is accepted by every one who is not ready to take the risk of evading the lekin tax altogether.
The committee has been verbally informed by Mr. Davenport, Her Britannic Majesty's consul here, that he is sending to His Excellency Sir Thomas Wade such information as he has been able to procure, including, the committee understands, certain important admissions by the present Taotai as to the connection between the Swatow Guild and the opium lekin office. I can only regret that circumstances have precluded the committee from supplementing Mr. Davenport's statement by any direct evidence.
It hardly needs argument to show that a trading guild allowed to farm the inland revenue on commodities in which it deals, is a privileged corporation within the meaning of the treaties, and there is no reason why, if found to work successfully in the case of opium, the same system should not be extended to tea, silk, and piece goods. There are indeed serious grounds for belief that fiscal arrangements of this kind at the outports have had much to do with the virtual banishment of foreign importers, which it has been the fashion to ascribe to the greater prudence and economy of the native trader. The Canton Co-hong monopoly, in spite of its one advantage of a collective responsibility enforced by the Chinese Government, was found so intolerable that it was solemnly abolished by treaty. It would appear, however, that the establishment of lekin, in the face of the treaties, has gradually led to other equally illegal combinations which, in port after port, and in one thing after another, threaten to hedge in foreign trade with privileged guilds, worse than the old Co-hong in proportion, as the interests affected are larger and more difficult to combat, because while effectually screened they are not officially recognized before foreign powers.
If any additional motive were needed for a vigorous declaration of treaty rights with regard to lekin, the committee would respectfully urge that it may be found in the tempting facilities offered to the collectors of this tax for the evasion or open disregard of other vital stipulations. The committee cannot conceal its anxiety lest, if the present opportunity be allowed to pass without dealing firmly with this question, the development of foreign trade may be still further crippled, if not entirely arrested, by such underhand influences. This statement is submitted in the hope that your excellencies and your colleagues may feel that the circumstances are such as to call for a prompt consideration of an undoubted grievance. I have, &c., &c.,
F. B. FORBES, Chairman.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 526.)
Mr. Seward to Mr. Bailey.
No. 205. ]
PEKING, December 5, 1879. SIR: I have had the honor to receive your dispatch No. 730, with which you have transmitted a letter addressed to me by the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, dated November 22, and having reference to the case of Duff and David versus The Swatow Guild and the danger growing out of the alleged committal to the guild of the collection of lekin taxes on opium. Other allegations of the same kind, notably in reference to the piece-goods trade at Ningpo, having fallen under the observation of my colleagues and myself, the subject will doubtless be presented to the government in as forcible a manner as the evidence will warrant.
Please be so good as to transmit the substance of this note to the chamber with an expression of my thanks for the information contained in their communication. I am, &c.,
GEORGE F. SEWARD.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Evarts.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, Peking, December 10, 1879. (Received January 27, 1880.) SIR: I have the honor to inform you that I have recently received from Mr. Cheshire, vice-consul at Canton, a copy of rules for the issue of transit passes, framed some months since by the local Chinese authorities, and promulgated without reference to the consulates or the legation.
I shall have occasion to refer to these rules again, and to lay a copy of them before you. They are very long, and for the moment we are not able to make a copy.
The rules seemed to me so objectionable that I at once placed them before my colleagues, and we agreed together that it is desirable to instruct our respective consuls at the several ports to declare to the authorities that they have no power to assent to any rules whatever without having received first the approval of the legation.
To my own circular letter, prepared in accordance with this understanding, I have added a request that our officers should exercise care when sending up statements of the grievances under which trade is suffering, to transmit also documentary evidence of facts alleged. I have, &c.,
GEORGE F. SEWARD.
(Inclosure in No. 530.]
Circular to consuls in China.
PEKING, December 3, 1879. The fact having been brought to my knowledge that the Chinese authorities at some of the ports have framed, with or without the concurrence of the consuls, regulations for the issue of transit passes, I have to call your attention to the matter, and to request you to inform the authorities that you have no authority to agree to any regulations so made or proposed, without having first obtained the sanction of the legation.
It is my desire and that of my colleagues to frame here, in concert with the government, all the rules necessary to the proper working of the transit pass system. This is desirable for the sake of uniformity and in order that the best possible arrangement may be secured.
In responding to this dispatch, please be so good as to hand to me copies in dapli: cate, in English and Chinese, of the form of transit pass inward and of the transit certificate used for produce coming outward, or in case these forms have been sent to the legation, please refer to the dispatch with which they were transmitted.
I desire to call your attention, further, to the fact that in urging upon the atten tion of the government here the failures and abuses of the transit pass system, and the irregular and undue taxation of uncertificated imports, and of produce intended for exportation, we find no lack of allegations that abuses exist, but the proofs are, in many cases, wanting: You are requested, therefore, to present to me such proofs in documentary form whenever it is possible for you to do so. I am, &c.,
GEORGE F. SEWARD.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Evarts.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, Peking, December 11, 1879. (Received February 19, 1880.) Sir: My engagements have been such since my return from thi United States that I have not been able to address you in regard to ser eral matters which are of serious concern in this part of the world. One of these is the pending dispute between China and Japan regarding the Lew Chew Islands.
It is not my purpose in writing to you now to make an extended statement. It is by no means easy to learn here either the position of the Japanese Government or the considerations upon which they rely to justify their policy towards the Lew Chewans and toward the Chinese in respect to the Lew Chewan matter. You will be advised, however, of the views of the Japanese, and of the facts which constitute their case by Mr. Bingham. In presenting to you, therefore, considerations which tell in favor of the Chinese, I shall put you in position to reach your own conclusions upon the whole matter.
As Iunderstand the ministers of the foreign office here, they do not claim that Lew Chew is an integral part of their empire. They assert that the island kingdom has paid tribute to China, and in this and other ways sustained a relationship savoring of dependency. They admit, on the other hand, that the kingdom has been subjected also to certain requirements of the Japanese, which have become, as it were, constitutional, and they ask only that the status of the islands shall revert to what it was, as so indicated, before the recent steps taken to make it an integral part of the Japanese Empire.
From their own point of view this proposition is a conciliatory one. They are either unaware that Japan has ever made conquests in Lew Chew, or they ignore those conquests as not having been followed by possession and control. A similar claim of conquest was set up by the Japanese over Formosa five years ago, when they invaded the island ostensibly to punish the aborigines for the maltreatment of some of their own people, while all the world knows that Formosa has been perfectly free from Japanese domination for a very long period. The case, as between Japan and Lew Chew, is un loubtedly stronger, although certainly the Japanese have not, until recently, exercised any very di. rect or positive interference in the affairs of the island kingdom.
Leaving aside, however, the merits of the claims set up by Japan, of which, as I have indicated, I may not be perfectly well informed, I proceed to state the nature of the relationship which has long existed between China and Lew Chew. This relationship is very perfectly indicated in a series of papers translated from the Chinese by Dr. Williams and published in the "Journal of the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society,” for 1866.
The first of these is a request for investiture made by Shang Han, King of Lew Chew, to the Emperor, Chia Ching, in 1807. It begins as follows:
Your Majesty's servant, Shang Han, grandson of the King of the Central Mountin Lew Chew, respectfully memorializes the throne, requesting that he be confirmed in his succession to the princely station, which will at once encourage him in his loyalty and render illustrious the great statutes of the empire.
You will notice upon reference to this petition, or paper, a copy of which I inclose, that the King of Lew Chew declares that although “his little State lies in the far distance, and is only a foot of ground for size, yet even away in mid ocean it has an established government, and during successive generations its rulers, having received investiture, have guarded the frontiers"; and, having made this preamble, proceeds to name his ancestors who have received such recognition from the Imperial Government. These begin with Shang Chi, “who was indebted to the favor of the Emperor Shun Chi for conferring on him the dignity of King in A. D. 1655," and then are named, successively, Shang Ching, who received investiture from Kanghsi in 1683; Shang Ching also from Kang Hsi in 1719; Shang Muh, from Chien Lung in 1757; and Shang Cheh from Chia Ching in 1801.
The investiture of Shang Han, applied for in 1807, was completed in 1809. At the same time an imperial rescript was sent to Lew Chew from Peking, confirming the father of Shang han in the regular line of kings, although he had died before he had had the opportunity to make the usual application for investiture. More lately, in 1866, Shang Ta, who had come to the throne, applied for investiture, which was granted to him. From 1655 to 1866, therefore, the Lew Chewan kings received investiture from China.
The investiture so granted was not a careless ceremony or performed secretly. The procedure followed in the instance of Shang Han in 1809 will illustrate the point. The petition asking for investiture was carried to Peking by two envoys, and two imperial envoys were appointed to carry to Lew Chew the imperial proclamation of investiture, and other official documents. A copy of the proclamation is appended to this dispatch, and also a copy of the imperial patent, or commission. Certain presents were also sent to Lew Chew. The manner in which the action of the Imperial Government was received is stated in a further representation sent up to the throne of China by the King, as follows:
Your servant, attended by the whole body of officials and dignitaries, and a concourse of people, met the envoys in the Pavilion of Grace, where we humbly implored long life and perpetual peace to the august sacred person. I then received the proclamation and patent, and deposited them in the envoy's hall. Having selected a lucky day (October 1], I first took the mandate commanding that the late Shang Ching, my father, be installed as King in the regular succession, and then the edict ordering that worship be paid (on your behalf) to the former King, Shang Wan, and to my late father, Shang Ching, and fulfilled every particular. On the 15th of November I reverently received the proclamation and patent of investiture, which confirms your servant as King in the Central Mount; and accepted the dragon-embroidered satins, and also the variegated silks and other articles, conferred on the Queen. Your servant then, with all the officials around him, prostrated ourselves on the ground to give thanks for such bounty. I then begged the envoys to let me have the two documents to put in the archives of the kingdom, among its precious things, and asked them to examine the old records to satisfy themselves that all had been done properly. They did so, and I have put them in our treasury.
It would be difficult to conceive a procedure more formally directed to the purpose than that which has been described. The application to the Emperor of China is precise in all its parts. The Emperor's responses are equally precise, and the ceremonies at the capital of Lew Chew are performed in the presence of the whole body of the officials and dig. nitaries and a large concourse of people."
It is not possible, then, that there is any mistake about the matter. The kings of Lew Chew baving observed for a period of two hundred years the practices described, acknowledged in the clearest manner a certain dependence upon the Imperial Government inconsistent with the idea that the state was a feudatory of any other power.
The first case of investiture mentioned in the petition of Chang Han took place in 1655. It was a “ remote ancestor” of his who was so favored, but it appears from Chinese records, as Dr. Williams points out in the article to which I have already referred, that a Lew Chewan prince sent an embassy to China in 1373, and that the Emperor Yung. Toh bestowed investiture on Bu-nei, King of Lew Chew, in the year 1400. Dr. Williams mentions further that during the Ming dynasty (1368 to 1644) Lew Chewan embassies came to China sometimes twice a year, sometimes once in five years, but that during the present dynasty they have come once in two years. The embassies thus sent up have not been purely political, and the tribute which has been brought to China has not been a money payment, significant of dependence, or a feudatory condition. And herein consists one of the most interesting facts ' in the relations of China with the surrounding petty states.
Manchuria, the home of the present dynasty; Mongolia, divided into a number of jurisdictions, all owing direct allegiance to China; Thibet, in which an imperial commissioner is resident, each have relations with China peculiar to themselves; but Corea, Lew Chew, Siam, Annam, and Burmah have sustained relations with their great neighbor which, although singular, may be described in a few words.
It appears to have been the practice of these states to send up complimentary missions to Peking. They may be called complimentary because they have been voluntary both as respects their times and the matter carried with them.
The embassies have brought, in fact, what may be more properly styled presents than tribute, the extent or value of which has depended upon the ability or generosity of the given ruler, and not at all upon the demands of the Chinese Government. And not only is this true, but it is true, further, that the Chinese practice has been to give presents in return. The latter point you will find illustrated in the papers regarding the investiture of Chang han sent herewith.
It has been suggested that the relationship thus indicated has an analogy to the middle-age experiences of Europe, when the Pope was considered in a manner the dispenser of imperial honors, but the example is not a good one, for the reason that the prerogative of the papacy was held to grow out of the regency conferred upon the Pope as the representative of Heaven upon earth, while the regard paid to the Emperor of China would seem to be a natural recognition of his position as an earthly potentate of extraordinary sway, and his benevolence in leaving to the petty states around him a complete autonomy of their own.
It is not too much to say that it has been within the power of China for a very long period to overruu and subdue these petty states. The fact that she has not done so is creditable to her rulers, and might very well draw from them expressions of gratitude and respect. A great people filling all their territory to the limit of its sustaining power, but remaining for centuries self-contained, regardful of their own dignity and place, but regardful also of the rights of the petty powers about them, is a spectacle not very common in the history of the world. It is one upon which we may pause to raise the question whether a state capable of such conduct has not, for soine reason, a poise and balance of judgment and temper greater than we have been in the habit of attributing to her, and which entitles her to a large measure of respect and esteem.
Something similar to the deferential intercourse observed between China and the surrounding petty states has existed between the Turkish Empire and the inferior powers of Central Asia. Vambéry says:
It was the practice in the middle ages for the three Khanates of Turkestan to receive as investiture from the Khalif of Bagdad a sort of court office. This old system has hot been abandoned even at the present day, and the princes, on their accession to the throne, are wont still to solicit, through the medium of an extraordinary embassy to Stamboul, these honorary distinctions. The Khan of Khiva assumes rank as Cupbearer ; the Emir of Bokhara as Reis (guardian of religion); and the Khan of Khokand as Constable.
But the bond which unites them with Constantinople goes no further. The analogy is not perfect, of course, but it illustrates the disposition of rulers of less importance in Asia to look up to those whose position is of greater importance, and to place themselves in an attitude of respect by assenting to forms which imply a certain dependence.
I am not sure that the Chinese Government would admit that their relations with Lew Chew do not indicate a more decided dependence than