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No. 181.

Mr. Angell to Mr. Evarts.

No. 10.)


Peking, August 20, 1880. (Received October 12.) SIR: I have the honor to transmit to you herewith a letter, No. 172, from Mr. De Lano, until lately consul at Foo-Chow, giving an account of an enforcement in an offensive way of certain rules of the governor-general of the province of Fukien, which are prejudicial to the interests of foreign residents wishing to acquire property.

I send to you also a copy of my reply sent to the present consul, Mr. Wingate.

You are well aware that the spirit of the inhabitants of Fukien has long been more unfriendly to foreigners than that of most of the other inhabitants of the coast provinces. It is thought that since, some time ago, the English supreme court found the title of one of the English missionary societies to the premises it occupied invalid, and restored the property to the Chinese claimants, there has been kindled in the minds of the Chinese, both citizens and officials, a new desire and a strong hope of making it uncomfortable, if not impracticable, for foreigners to secure and hold leases of real property.

Obviously, if the example set by the officials in the case recited by Mr. De Lano is to be followed, great and perhaps insuperable obstacles will be put in the way of our citizens who desire to lease property. I trust my course in the matter may meet your approval. I have, &c.,


(Inclosure 1 in No. 10.)

Mr. De Lano to Mr. Seward. No. 172.]

FOOchow, June 23, 1880. Sir: I bave on several occasions of late, in my dispatches, called your attention to various acts of the local and provincial officers calculated to prejudice the natives against foreigners, and more particularly to intimidate their people so that they shall not dare to effect leases or sales of property to missionaries.

In the antumn of last year the American Board mission purchased on perpetual lease a piece of land in one of the suburbs of the city, which they had occupied for a number of years under leases effected from year to year. They sent their deed of lease through the consulate to the magistrate for registration in the usual way, and in February last they reported to me that the sellers, the Tepo of the ward, the middleman, the writer, and the witnesses had all been summoned to the Yamên for examination, were kept in the Yamên lock-up two days and nights, and had been mulcted collectively in the sum of some 13,000 cash.

This was a sudden departure from the prevailing custom at the port, and was doubtless intended to make it impossible for the mission to make further purchase of ground. I first made inquiry about the matter, and found that the new system had been inaugurated by order of the viceroy, and later on I addressed a letter to the intendant on the subject, complaining that this official interference was contrary to the spirit and letter of Article XII of our treaty, as well as to Article XXVIII, which forbids the extortion of illegal fees.

I stated that, according to my interpretation of those articles of the treaty, when Chinese subjects effected sales or leases of property to American citizens voluntarily, and without fraud or coercion, the authorities should not interfere or intimidate. That the custom of the past of sending a single Yamên runner to the seller to inquire if the sale had been voluntary, and collect a fee of some 1,200 cash for stamping the deed, had answered all necessary requirements, and had not been complained of, and that when new regulations were made, or were about to be made, affecting the interest of foreign residents it would be only fair and courteous to give notice to the resident consuls.

I also suggested that, as a means of preventing the possible extortion of unlawful fees by the runners, it would be better if the foreign lessor be required to pay the official fee for stamping the leases, and that it be sent by the consul when sending the lease for registration.

The intendant in his reply said, “I find that in cases of perpetual lease by foreigners from Chinese, of buildings or grounds, if the lease is sent to the consul and by him to the local authorities, the latter ought immediately to summon the sellers, middlemen, witnesses, &c., before them, and after finding, by clear examination, that there has been no breach (of treaty) nor harm to the free course of the elements, and after making these men prepare a bond, they are immediately to affix their seal to the lease, retain a copy, and return the other to the consul. But when these men (the sellers, middlemen, witnesses, &c.) are before the magistrate, any illicit extortion of fees by the runners would be extremely improper."

I replied to the intendant's dispatch protesting against the practice, and added that if the new system was to be adhered to, American citizens, when effecting leases, would be permitted to enter upon the possession of their property on depositing their title papers in the consulate, and the consul might elect when he would send them to the magistrate for registration. My last dispatch brought no response, and as I have had no deeds for registration since there has been no revival of the question.

I shall feel obliged for your advice as to the proper course to be pursued in case the subject should again come up.

If the new system were to be enforced, there would be no Chinese who would ventnre to sell or lease property to our people. I have, &c.,


(Inclosure 2 in No. 10.]

Mr. Angell to Mr. Wingate.

No. 3.]

PEKING, August 20, 1880. SIR: I have before me Mr. De Lano's dispatch No. 172 to Mr. Seward, giving an account of the enforcement by the governor-general's order of certain new rules, which are prejudicial to the interests of foreign residents wishing to acquire property.

When one examines these rules and the manner in which they were enforced in the case described, and especially when one recalls the spirit so often shown in and near Foochow towards foreigners, one cannot escape the conviction that these regulations are intended, as they are calculated, to render the acquisition of real property by foreigners extremely difficult, if not impossible.

I heartily approve the general spirit or Mr. De Lano's remonstrance against this innovation. I may snggest that Article XII of our treaty of 1858 furnishes a stronger ground than Article XXVIII on which to rest objections to these rules and, an altogether sufficient and impregnable ground. Clearly, the treaty assures to our citizens the right to rent real estate freely of Chinese citizens who are willing to lease.

Clearly, the procedure resorted to in the transaction described by Mr. De Lano must have the effect to deter Chinese from leasing and so to hinder our citizens from obtaining leases.

You are authorized to say to the intendant that the matter has been referred to this office, and that we cannot assent to rules and procedures so clearly in antagonism to our treaty. You may also say that in case any modification of the old regulations concerning the leasing of property by foreigners is made, it seems to us but courteous and proper that the consul should be informed of it before it is put into execution.

Mr. De Lano states that he had informed the intendant that "henceforth, American citizens, when effecting leases, would be permitted to enter upon the possession of their property on depositing their title papers in the consulate, and the consul might elect when he would send them to the magistrate for registration."

It is so desirable to comply promptly with all reasonable requirements about the registration of leases that I will ask you to consider carefully what is wise in that regard. Your acquaintance with the circumstances and your discretion will, I am sure, lead you to a prudent decision. I am, &C.,


No. 182.

Mr. Angell to Mr. Erarts.

No. 14.]


Peking, August 28, 1880. (Received October 12.) SIR: Mr. John F. Wilbur, of Germantown, Pa., has written me, as he says, by the advice of the Assistant Secretary of State, asking what are the rights of a foreign author to his publications in this country, and also whether a resident

here can represent the author and so protect his rights.

As other Americans may desire information on the subject, I herewith communicate to you my answer to him. I have, &c.,


[Inclosure in No. 14.)

Mr. Angell to Mr. Wilbur.

PEKING, August 28, 1880. SIR: I have received your letter of June 30, 1880, inquiring what are the rights of a foreign author to his publications in this country, and also whether a resident here can represent the author and so protect his rights.

In reply, I beg leave to say that there is no copyright law and no law of any kind in China to protect the right of authors in their works. On the other hand, there is hardly any risk that any publisher will attempt to reproduce any of your works which you may print here or send here. The foreign community is so small that there is no inducement to a publisher to make a reprint of a work in any European language; and no one would think of reprinting any work you might publish in Chinese. I am, &c.,


No. 183.

No. 47.]

Mr. Hunter to Mr. Angell.


Washington, October 11, 1880. SIR: I have to acknowledge the receipt of Mr. Seward's dispatch No. 742, of the 13th of August last, in relation to the case of the late Chinese minister to Russia, Chung How, recently sentenced to death, but who has now, by imperial decree, been unconditionally set at liberty.

This government has been much gratified to learn of the humane action of His Imperial Majesty towards one of his high officials, and the spirit of humanity so liberally shown in this case will, it is hoped, go far to. wards helping at least the satisfactory and peaceful adjustment of the pending differences between the Government of China and that of Russia I am, &c.,


Acting Secretary.



No. 184.

Mr. Ecarts to Mr. Yung Wing.


Washington, February 17, 1880. SIR: In a recent dispatch to this Department in relation to the emigration of Chinese subjects from their own land to other countries, one of the United States consuls in China transmitted for the information of the Department what purports to be a transcript of section ccly of the penal code of China, as translated by Sir George Thomas Staunton, F. R. S., an English baronet, whose translation is reputed to be the only one known. The law referred to is in relation to the vicarious punishment to be inflicted upon the relatives of a Chinaman who may renounce his country and allegiance, and it may therefore be of interest to this government, in connection with the large Chinese immigration on our Pacific coast, to be conversant with the nature of this among the other Chinese statutes touching the general subject.

I have the honor, therefore, to inclose herewith a copy of the translated law as received from the consul, and to inquire whether the same correctly represents the law, and whether it is understood to be now in force in all or any part of the dominions of His Imperial Majesty. Accept, &C.,



Penal Code of China: translated by Sir George Thomas Staunton, Bart., F. R. S. (Extract]. Section CCLV. Renunciation of allegiance.

All persons renouncing their country and allegiance, or devising the means thereof, shall be beheaded; and in the punishment of this offense no distinction shall be made between principals and accessories.

The property of all such criminals shall be confiscated, and their wives and children distributed as slaves to the great officers of state. Those females, however, with whom a marriage had not been completed, though adjusted by contract, shall not suffer under this law; from the penalties of this law, exception shall also be made in favor of all such daughters of criminals as shall have been married into other families. The parents, grandparents, brothers, and grandchildren of such criminals, whether habitually living with them under the same roof or not, shall be perpetually banished to the distance of 2,000 li.

All those who purposely conceal and connive at the perpetration of this crime shall be strangled.

Those who inform against and bring to justice criminals of this description shall be rewarded with the whole of their property.

Those who are privy to the perpetration of this crime and yet omit to give any notice or information thereof to the magistrates shall be punished with 100 blows, and banished perpetually to the distance of 3,000 li.

If the crime is contrived, but not executed, the principal shall be strangled and all the accessories shall each of them be punished with 100 blows and perpetual banishment to the distance of 3,000 li.

If those who are privy to such ineffective contrivance do not give due notice and information thereof to the magistrates, they shall be punished with 100 blows and banisbed for three years.

All persons who refuse to surrender themselves to the magistrates when required, and seek concealment in mountains and desert places in order to evade either the performance of their

duty or the punishment due to their crimes, shall be held guilty of an intent to rebel, and shall therefore suffer punishment in the manner by this law provided.

If such persons have recourse to violence and defend themselves when pursued, by force of arms, they shall be held guilty of an overt act of rebellion, and punished accordingly.

No. 185.

Mr. Yung Wing to Mr. Evarts.

CHINESE LEGATION, Washington, March 2, 1880. (Received March 2.) SIR: Your communication of the 17th ultimo, containing an inclosure of a translation of section ccLV of the penal code of China, as translated by Sir George Thomas Staunton, and inquiring “whether the same correctly represents the law, and whether it is now understood to be in force in all or any part of the dominions of His Imperial Majesty," was duly received, and I have the honor to say in reply that section ccLv of the Chinese penal code referred to has no reference whatever to Chinese emigration as contemplated in and sanctioned by the Burlingame treaty. Under the general head of "Renunciation of allegiance," the specific acts so carefully defined, with their corresponding punishments, point to the presumptive existence of a lesser or greater degree of treasonable intent against the government, and it contemplates conspiracies and overt acts of rebellion against the government as being the logical sequence of renunciation of allegiance,” which antecedes them both in time and existence; hence their classification under that head or section. Emigration, as sanctioned by foreign treaties, is taken out of the category of treasonable acts, and is therefore beyond the scope of the section.

In Article V of the Burlingame treaty we find this language, which is conclusive on this point: “The United States of America and the Emperor of China cordially recognize the inherent and inalienable right of man to change his home and allegiance.” Accept, &c.,


No. 186.

Mr. Evarts to Mr. Yung Wing.


Washington, May 25, 1880. SIR: I am alike honored and gratified in being enabled to inform you that the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, has appointed two of our distinguished citizens, Messrs. John F. Swift, of California, and William Henry Trescot, of South Carolina, as com: missioners, to act conjointly with the envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States to China, to negotiate and conclude a settlement by treaty of such matters of interest to the two governments, now pending, as may be confided to them.

It is expected that these commissioners, in company with the newly appointed minister to China, Mr. James B. Angell, will sail from San Francisco, en route to Peking, in the steamer of the 17th of June proximo.

I have instructed the present minister near the Government of His

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